College Corner: Early Action and Early Decision

Ashley Smith, culture editor and college columnist

The University of Wisconsin- Madison has always been a dream for senior Micaela Connors, who was recently accepted there. “I don’t know why, but I’ve always just wanted to go there” Connors said. Applying early was the right choice for Connors as well as a number of other seniors this year.
Applying early is a great way to get college apps out of the way. Senior Molly Little (who was accepted Early Action to Georgetown University) said, “It was good to get it out of the way… it’s relieving to know that I got accepted but I haven’t made a decision yet.” Applying early lets the applicant make a decision immediately, or wait until the spring when regular acceptance letters come in.
A disadvantage to applying early is being deferred. Being deferred is a limbo between being accepted and rejected from a college. This means that a student’s credentials aren’t good enough to be accepted early but the college will look at a student’s application again with the pool of regular admissions and make their decision then. Senior Matt Rock said, “[Getting deferred] was one of the most anti-climactic moments in my almost adult life…I was expecting a decision, and instead received an e-mail that literally said ‘We could not make a decision about your application.’”

If you were deferred, don’t fret! There are still plenty of things to do to better your chances. Counselor Janet Schmiel suggested sending semester one senior grades, new accomplishments and anything else that wasn’t included in the application. “The main thing is letting the college know that you’re still interested,” she said. Mrs. Schmiel also suggested finding the reason for the deferral. “Maybe you find out that they deferred you because of your ACT or SAT score, then you could try to take those again and better your scores, same with grades.”

Even getting rejected by Early Action or Early Decision has pros. Senior John Bryan, who was rejected from Princeton University, said, “Even though I was rejected, it was a positive to know that Princeton was no longer an option earlier rather than later. I was able to really figure what other schools would be my top choices.”

According to College Board, about 450 colleges have an Early Action plan, Early Decision plan, or both. To search if that dream college is on the list, go to

Ashley Smith writes about the college search for Edina High School students in the College Corner. The College Corner will give you tips and tricks from counselors at Edina and high school students for finding the perfect college. What would you like to see covered in the College Corner? Email Ashley at [email protected] for suggestions!