Fall 2021 Freshman Application Deadlines | EA, ED & Regular Deadlines for Class of 2025

Are you planning to apply to top US colleges for the 2021 admission cycle (Class of 2025)? Here are the Early ActionEarly Decision, and Regular Decision application deadlines for undergraduate admissions at the top US colleges.

Early Decision and Early Application plans can be advantageous to students. Typically, the acceptance rates are significantly higher during the early decision and early application rounds than in the regular application rounds. Have a look at the early application (EA & EA) statistics for the Class of 2024, Class of 2023Class of 2022, and Class of 2021 at the top colleges in the US.


Freshman Application Deadlines 2020 – 2021

Early Action, Early Decision & Regular Deadlines for Class of 2025


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Students who apply to a school through an Early Action will submit their applications (in November) before the regular deadline and will be informed of their admissions decisions soon after (usually in January or February).

These students are not committed to their Early Action schools and still have until 1 May to either accept or decline their offers of admission.

Students who are not admitted Early Action may be “deferred” to the Regular Decision deadline, though these policies will vary between colleges.

Early Decision (ED) I

Applying in ED I round is the most compelling way for applicants to demonstrate their interest in a top-choice school because an ED acceptance is binding. It means that students agree that if they are accepted they will enroll. 

The acceptance rates in the early round are usually higher compared to the regular admission round. However, the applicant pool is considerably more competitive. High schoolers can only apply to one school ED. Students who apply ED should have excellent grades, test scores, and complete and compelling applications. 

Early Action (EA) or Single Choice or Restricted Early Action (SCEA)

If you’re a strong student and ready to apply early but don’t want the commitment of an ED option – consider applying EA or SCEA.

The EA or SCEA round is a good choice for the applicants who wish to leverage their legacy status in order to have the best chance of admission without the commitment of an ED decision.

While applying EA or SCEA, students will usually receive their decisions in mid-December. But, there are some restrictions about where else students can apply. If applying EA, students can still apply Regular Decision or EA to other institutions, but SCEA students can only apply Regular Decision to other institutions; they must wait until they get their SCEA decision before applying EA or EDII elsewhere unless it’s a public university.

It’s wise for students with strong grades, test scores, and compelling applications to apply to their top-choice schools EA if possible, while also continuing to work on Regular Decision applications. Students applying EA or SCEA can be deferred or denied, leaving open the possibility of applying ED II to another top-choice university if they decide the EA or SCEA school is no longer the best option for them.

Related Article:

Early Decision vs Early Action: Pros and Cons

Class of 2025 Early Decision Notification Dates

Early Decision (ED) II

Maybe you have a top-choice school in mind but you’re not quite ready to apply in the ED I round with the November deadline. Maybe you applied ED or EA to your top-choice school and you were deferred or denied, or you were accepted to your EA school but now you’re not sure if it’s right for you and you want to pursue your ED chances at another institution that offers a later ED II deadline.

ED II, while still competitive, offers another chance for students to demonstrate their interest and commitment to a college albeit with a later application deadline, usually in early-January or mid-February.

ED II is a great strategy for students who are compelling applicants, but maybe need a little more time to get their applications in tip-top shape. ED II can also help students leverage special circumstances like legacy status to have the best chance of admission without worrying about applying by an earlier deadline.

The ED II application strategy can be used as a first pass at an ED round, or as a second option should students’ other ED or EA application strategies not work out in their favor. Again, ED II is binding, so students should work with their college admission counselors to make sure this application option is the best option for their goals and can help them have the best chance of admission.

Tips for EA/ED Applicants

  • Take full advantage of Early Action for all the schools on your list
  • Apply Restrictive Early Action to your top school or when the restrictions don’t inhibit your ability to take advantage of early admission programs at higher ranked schools
  • Apply Early Decision I when you are strongly committed to attending your top choice school and have no concerns about affordability
  • Apply Early Decision II if you have been denied admission to your top choice school, you’re strongly committed to attending this ED II school as your next best option and have no concerns about affordability

Tips for ED Applicants

  • Apply early (usually in November) to the first-choice college
  • Receive an admission decision from the college well in advance of the usual notification date (usually by December)
  • Agree to attend the college if accepted and offered a financial aid package that is considered adequate by the family
  • May only apply to one college for early decision
  • May apply to other colleges under regular admission
  • Must withdraw all other applications when accepted by ED
  • Usually must give a nonrefundable deposit well in advance of May 1

Tips for EA & RE applicants

  • Apply early
  • Receive an admission decision early in the admission cycle (usually in January or February)
  • Do not have to commit to an EA or REA college
  • May apply to other colleges under regular admission plans
  • Must give the college a decision no later than the May 1 national response date

Who should apply early?

Applying to an ED or EA plan is most appropriate for a student who:

  • Has researched colleges extensively
  • Is absolutely sure that the college she is applying to early is the first choice
  • Has found a school that is a strong match academically, socially, geographically, and so forth
  • Meets or exceeds the admission profile for the school for SAT scores, GPA, and class rank
  • Has an academic record that has been consistently solid over time


Good luck with your applications!!!


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