Early Action: What Is It and How Does It Benefit Me?

October 29, 2020

Applying to college can be a daunting process. There are different application types to consider, and different deadlines and requirements for each school. This post will give you some guidance on what specific terms mean in the college application process, and share some reasons why you might want to consider Early Action.

There are four different categories of application deadlines: Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision, and Rolling Admission. It's always a good idea to check a college's website or contact the Admissions Office to make sure you know the application deadlines and which models that school offers.

Application deadline categories:

  • Early Decision: If you already know your first-choice college, you can apply using Early Decision. This application is typically due earlier in the fall, and your decision is also due in the fall. If you are admitted, this is a binding agreement that you will accept the offer of admission. You might have to do so before receiving notification from other schools where you applied for Early Action, Regular Decision, or Rolling Admission.
  • Early Action: You may apply to more than one school as an early action applicant. The benefit is that it's non-binding; you don't have to be certain if you want to attend that school before you apply. Like Early Decision, the application is typically due in the fall. You can receive an offer of admission much sooner than Regular Decision and Rolling Admission, but you have a longer window of time to make your final decision if you are admitted. In some cases, you might also be given priority scholarship consideration.
  • Regular Decision: You should apply by the specified date, which might be in the fall or later in the year. Then you will receive a decision from that school in a specific window of time. While this option allows you to have more time to apply, and it's non-binding, you typically won't hear from schools as soon as you would with Early Decision and Early Action. You might also miss out on some scholarships awarded to early applicants.
  • Rolling Admission: If you're uncertain which schools are in your top two or three, or if you aren't ready to apply right away in the fall, this might be the option for you. Rolling Admission means the school will accept and review applicants as students apply. This application is non-binding, but there are a few other things to consider. The deadline might be much later than Early Decision or Early Action, you won't get a decision until later in the year, and you might miss out on priority scholarship consideration.

Luther College allows students the opportunity to apply for admission under a non-binding Early Action admission process. As an Early Action applicant, students will receive a decision within two weeks of the November 1 Early Action deadline, and will also receive priority scholarship and financial aid consideration. Applicants still won't need to finalize their decision until May 1, but receiving earlier information on admission and scholarships does allow for you to make your final college decision earlier in the process. Following the Early Action deadline, Luther will continue to admit students on a rolling weekly basis, and will do so each week until the class is full.

Note: Luther is offering a special grant this year to students who apply by November 1 and submit their FAFSA by January 1. If you meet these two requirements, you will earn $4,000 over the course of four years ($1,000/year).

While you ultimately have to do what works for you, Early Action might be a great option for you to consider! You get the application done earlier and you will receive a decision from that school in the fall. You might even have an opportunity for priority scholarship consideration. Since it's non-binding, you still have time to accept the offer of admission, but you can rest easy knowing that your application is done!