Early, regular or binding: How Archie Williams seniors are applying to colleges

The College and Career Center at Archie Williams displays different college banners.
The College and Career Center at Archie Williams displays different college banners.
Luca Roy

One of the most complicated decisions in the college application process is whether to apply for early action (EA), early decision (ED), or regular decision (RD). These three ways of applying to colleges all have their advantages and disadvantages, and have different impacts on student application success. 

EA and ED allow students to apply for colleges early, with a deadline usually in Nov. ED forces a binded agreement between the college and individual applying, while EA is more lenient and allows students to change their mind later. Both of these options differ from RD, where students apply for colleges in Jan. without immediate commitment.

This year, most Archie Williams seniors are applying EA and RD, depending on whether schools offer EA or not. 

Of the Archie Williams students surveyed, most seniors applied Early Action to universities. (Lucas Gallagher)

The Pitch’s poll team surveyed Archie Williams seniors on how they are applying for colleges. Of the students interviewed, 50 percent said a mix of EA and RD, 44 percent said only RD, and six percent said ED. 

Archie Williams College and Career Specialist Lisa Neumaier thinks that students applying early to their favorite schools shows admissions officers their dedication to that college. 

“I think [students are applying for early action] for a variety of reasons, but I think the main one is that there is a perception out there that for some colleges, particularly real competitive schools to get into, there is a slight edge. You’ll have a slight edge in the admissions process if you show that college earlier that you’re interested in them,” Neumaier said. 

Senior Ana Vidinsky applied EA because she believes it showed colleges her interest and work ethic. 

“I chose to do early action for certain schools that I cared about more, and that I was really interested in going to, just to show the schools that I care, and that I was able to get the work done early for them,” Ana said. “If I don’t get in with early action, they’ll look at my application a second time during regular decision. I think that’s cool that they’ll see [my application] twice if they don’t accept me for the first one.”

The College and Career Center at Archie Williams displays college posters and banners. (Luca Roy)

One of the perks for students applying EA is that it demonstrates to colleges an interest in their programs, but doesn’t require any commitment. For seniors at Archie Williams, this is an easy way to please colleges and not have to worry about applying later in the school year. 

“I’m trying to just get in so I don’t really have to worry about [college applications] later, and you hear back earlier, so it’s nicer,” said senior Nate Sampson, who applied for EA.

Despite the popularity of EA, most of the students who utilize it also apply RD later on. Overall, Archie Williams students use a mix for their college applications, and prepare for their decision letters coming later this school year.

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