Quick refresher on the types of college application deadlines you may come across in your college search: Early Decision (December 1 at Siena), Early Action (October 15 at Siena), Regular Decision (April 1 at Siena) So which one should you choose?

We’ll start off by saying that if you have just ONE college on your list that you absolutely must get into, go Early Decision for sure. It’s binding—which means if you get in, you’re going. 

But for now, we’re going to assume you have a few colleges on your list that you’d love to explore further. And if that's the case: if any of them offer an Early Action (EA) option, TAKE THEM UP ON IT! 

Here are five reasons why we think Early Action is a smart move.

  1. You don’t have to commit. If you apply for Early Action and get in, it’s a non-binding acceptance. That means the college will secure your spot without you needing to commit, so you can still keep your options open and hold off on your final decision until you’re ready to make it in May. Plus, you can apply Early Action to as many schools as you’d like. 
  2. It shows admissions committees your interest level and ability to meet early deadlines. Have you already explored the campus and felt at home? Talked with students? Feeling good about it? Apply EA. Admissions counselors get excited that you’re already excited at this point, and we love the fact that you were able to spend time on your application earlier in the process. 
  3. You can figure out your finances sooner. If you fill out your FAFSA early (it’s available starting October 1 every year), there's a good chance you'll receive award letters soon after you receive acceptances. In other words, by applying Early Action, you'll find out the details of your packages sooner, so you can begin steering your research toward additional scholarships or setting up appointments with financial aid counselors to discuss next steps.
  4. There’s room for improvement. Some schools are happy to give feedback if they feel your application has potential—but may need work—before handing over an acceptance letter. At Siena, for example, we’re open to conversations anytime (here are 10 instances you may want to reach out!). An admissions counselor may connect directly with you about ways to improve your chances of getting admitted, like writing the optional essay. And again, since it's earlier in the admissions process, you'll have plenty of time to do so. 
  5. You also have more time to make your decision. Sometimes there’s nothing better than that satisfying relief of knowing you’ve been accepted to a college you're really interested in. Take a moment to appreciate that! If you receive multiple acceptance letters, now the choice is completely yours—and you have more time than Regular Decision candidates to mull it over. Take that extra time to revisit campuses, do further research on classes, make a pros and cons list. On the flip side, if you don’t get into your top choices, you can use the time to reevaluate your options and check out different schools.

Good luck!