Different College Application Types: ED vs EA vs ER


Last week in our 2019 College Admissions Trends blog post, we spoke briefly about the rising interest and acceptances of early decision (ED) and early admission (EA) applicants by colleges worldwide. Parents and students have asked for further information about the different types and options when a student candidate is applying for colleges and universities.

To help navigate parents and high school students in their commencement of college applications, 7EDU will clarify and explain the different types of college admission options below. Asides from this explanation, we will recommend which option is the best for your child.

Now that school is officially back in session, now is the time to get the ball rolling on college applications. Many students are starting their involvement in community service, participating in extracurriculars, developing a college list, and aiming for the highest marks for grades.


Along with the kickstart of the school year, many high school students are asking about college application deadlines. However, depending on what colleges your child intends on applying to, the deadline calendar may look different from student-to-student. Add on the possible options of early decision (ED), early action (EA), and early rolling (ER).


Early Decision (ED)


If your child has a dream university that they want to attend, consider the early decision option. This particular admissions program is binding. Students that accept this offer are required to withdraw any applications to other schools.


Given that this option is binding, be certain that your child (or you, the student) are definite in your decision and selection. A good tip for parents is to set-up a meeting with a guidance counselor to acquire some opinion and advice before submitting an ED application.


7EDU Impact Academy offers counseling services that aim to help both parents and their children understand college options and application preparations. Feel free to contact us at (408) 216-9109 or send us an email at info@7edu.org with your inquiry.


We recommend that only student candidates who have a high interest and preferred college-of-choice are ideal for this particular college admission option. Moreover, the candidate should complete all necessary materials and application before the designated early decision deadline (with all your test scores at a mark you are content with). Do not submit an early decision if you are unable to improve your test scores before the earlier time frame.


Early Action (EA)

Similar to early decision, early action applications provides candidates with a response far in advance of regular decision students. Likewise, they require that students apply at an earlier target date.


A major difference from the early decision program is EA applicants are allowed to apply EA to various colleges and universities and the student is not required or obligated to attend if admitted. Their regular response date to the offer is the standardized date of May 1st.


Parents should encourage their children to apply for early action over early decision if the student has flexible preferences for their top-choices. Like ED-applicants, your child is ideal for early action if they have completed all requisites and the application before the deadline. Avoid the EA college admission option if you think you can increase your scores but just not before the designated timeline.


Early Rolling (ER)

This particular option for early admissions is common at large state universities.


Early rolling admissions offers students a chance to apply either at an earlier or later date, and operates similar to first-come first-serve. For high school students that start their application process late, this option may be ideal.


Rolling admissions allow students to apply for a school at any point during the college's application period (usually between September through July). Evaluations and admissions are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis as mentioned beforehand, so you will want to submit the required materials and application as early as possible.


ER is great for students that do not want a binding agreement (like ED-applications), prefer a longer time period to apply (great for last-minute college options), and have lower competition if applying early. A few downsides are:

  • If you apply late, you will receive a reply back late

  • Acceptances become increasingly difficult at a rolling admissions school the more time a student takes with their application

If you want to learn more about ER, here is another great article that distinguishes the advantages and disadvantages.


A general advantage of applying for early admission options and programs is if your child is accepted, they will have a condensed college decision application list - the student will have a shorter list of regular decision colleges to consider over their early acceptance school.

We really appreciate all the great questions and requests, they help us write the type of content that parents and students are interested in hearing and learning about. If you or your child requires additional assistance or counseling for college preparations, 7EDU Impact Academy is readily available to serve the learners of the Bay Area. Contact us at (408) 216-9109 or send us an email at info@7edu.org with your inquiry.


As always, follow us on Instagram @seveneducation. If there are other topics you would like us to cover, send us a message! We also post daily blog alerts and any 7EDU-related updates on our feed.

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