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What Does ED, EA, REA, and RD Mean in the US Application Process?

 

By the Branksome Hall Asia University Counselors

 

The Branksome Hall Asia University Counselors have recently fielded some specific questions about ED’s (Early Decisions), EA’s (Early Action), Restricted EA’s, and Regular Decisions with regard to the graduating class of 2022. We thought that a brief overview of the US Universities and Colleges admission scheme terminologies would be helpful.

Early Decision - There are two early decision deadlines, ED1 in November and the slightly less common ED2 in January. These are more common at private liberal arts colleges. ED1 students typically apply by November 1st in anticipation of an admissions decision by December 15th. Early Decision applications are binding. This means that if a student is accepted, they must enroll at this school. Students should think very carefully before applying to a university as an Early Decision applicant. The Early Decision university should be a student’s first choice (worldwide) and if accepted, you will withdraw all other applications (worldwide) and attend that university. Strategically, the Early Decision option can help students to gain access to reach schools with low acceptance rates and allow students to know early in the college admission process that they have been unconditionally accepted. It should be noted that last year around 30% of ED1 & 2 BHA applicants were accepted.

Early Action - Students typically apply by November/December in anticipation of an admissions decision earlier than the regular acceptance decisions, which can be as late as April and May. This type of application scheme is non-binding and non-restrictive. Students may apply to as many universities in the U.S. as they choose under early action policies.

Restricted Early Action - A few highly selective schools (Harvard, Stanford, Notre Dame) use REA’s. REA’s are similar to ED’s, but students applying as REA are restricted from applying to any other ED and EA private universities. This type of application scheme is non-binding, but restrictive. Some REA universities do allow applicants to apply to EA public universities, but you must check with each university.

Regular decision - Students typically apply by early January in anticipation of an admissions decision by April 1st. This type of application scheme is non-binding and non-restrictive.

If students or parents have any questions about the university application process in the US or anywhere else in the world, please contact your Branksome Hall Asia counselor directly.