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Early Action Schools: Complete List of EA Colleges

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 13, 2015 5:00:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info



Would you like to know where you'll be going to college as soon as possible? If you apply early action, then you might have your plans all set by winter break of your senior year. That's a big leap forward compared to waiting until regular notification in April!

A large number of schools offer an early action deadline in addition to a regular decision deadline. This guide will go over what you need to know about applying early action, along with a comprehensive list of all the schools that offer it. To start, how does early action work?


What You Need to Know About Early Action

Early action can be a great option if you've done your college research and are prepared with all the different parts of your application by the November deadline. Data shows that a greater percentage of early action candidates get accepted than regular decision candidates. However, this higher admission rate may reflect the competitiveness of early action applicants, rather than suggest that applying early gives you a special advantage. 

A good rule of thumb to go by is this: apply early if you're organized and prepared with a strong application. Wait until regular decision if your application would be stronger with a couple more months of preparation. Your highest priority should be to send the best application you can. 

The most common deadlines for early action are November 1 and November 15. You'll typically hear back from your college in mid-December. Hopefully, the news makes for a happy new year!

Even though you hear back early, you're not obligated to respond to an offer of acceptance any earlier than the national response date, which is May 1st. You can hang onto that acceptance letter while you wait to hear back from all the colleges you applied to. Then you can compare offers and financial aid packages once you've received all your admissions decisions.

Just like with regular decision, you application may be accepted or denied. There's also a third option: getting deferred. Getting deferred means that your application will be pushed into the regular decision pool, to be reviewed again in February or March.

If you're deferred and remain very interested in the school, then you might send along mid-year grades or test scores if you think they could help your application. You could also call the admissions office and find out if there's anything you can send to strengthen your candidacy.

For the most part, you can apply to as many early action colleges as you want. However, a few schools have restrictive or single-choice early action, which means you can't apply early anywhere but that one school. Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale all have restrictive early action policies. You can still go ahead and do regular decision elsewhere, but you can only apply to one of those schools under an early action deadline.  

Besides these four universities, what other colleges offer early action deadlines?


Can't wait to find out which campus you'll be admiring fall foliage on? Applying early action might be for you!


Complete List of Early Action Schools by State

Below is the complete list of schools with early action, organized by state. Some popular ones include Boston College, CalTech, MIT, Georgetown, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, and Villanova.

Search for your school of interest by state, or hit "Ctrl + f" on your keyboard and type in the first few letters of the school to be brought right to it. 


Auburn University
Birmingham-Southern College
Oakwood University


Hendrix College
Lyon College
University of Arkansas


Azusa Pacific University
Biola University
California Baptist University
California Institute of Technology
California Lutheran University
California State University Sacramento
California State University San Bernardino
Chapman University
Concordia University Irvine
Loyola Marymount University
Master's College
Menlo College
Mills College
Notre Dame de Namur University
Point Loma Nazarene University
Saint Mary's College of California
Santa Clara University
Soka University of America
Stanford University
University of Redlands
University of San Francisco
University of the Pacific
Vanguard University of Southern California
Westmont College
Whittier College


Colorado College
Colorado State University
Fort Lewis College
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Denver


Fairfield University
United States Coast Guard Academy
University of New Haven
Yale University
Delaware College of Art and Design

Washington, DC

Catholic University of America
Georgetown University
Howard University
Trinity Washington University


Eckerd College
Palm Beach Atlantic University
University of Miami
University of Tampa


Agnes Scott College
Emmanuel College
Georgia College and State University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia State University
LaGrange College
Mercer University
Morehouse College
Oglethorpe University
Spelman College
University of Georgia


College of Idaho
Northwest Nazarene University


DePaul University
Illinois College
Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Wesleyan University
Knox College
Lake Forest College
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
University of Chicago
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Wheaton College


Butler University
DePauw University
Earlham College
Grace College
Hanover College
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Taylor University
University of Evansville
University of Notre Dame
Wabash College


Bellarmine University
Centre College
Georgetown College
Transylvania University


Centenary College of Louisiana
Southern University at New Orleans
Tulane University
Xavier University of Louisiana


Maine College of Art
St. Joseph's College of Maine
Thomas College
Unity College
University of Maine
University of Maine at Farmington
University of Maine at Machias
University of New England


Goucher College
Hood College
Loyola University Maryland
McDaniel College
Mount St. Mary's University
Salisbury University
St. John's College
United States Naval Academy
University of Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County


Assumption College
Babson College
Bay Path College
Becker College
Bentley University
Berklee College of Music
Boston College
Bridgewater State University
Clark University
Curry College
Emerson College
Emmanuel College
Framingham State University
Gordon College
Hampshire College
Harvard College
Hellenic College
Lasell College
Lesley University
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Merrimack College
Montserrat College of Art
Northeastern University
Regis College
Salem State University
Simmons College
Stonehill College
Suffolk University
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Wheaton College
Wheelock College
Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Albion College
Central Michigan University
Hillsdale College
Kalamazoo College
Michigan State University
University of Michigan


Bemidji State University
College of Saint Benedict
Gustavus Adolphus College
Hamline University
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Saint John's University


Millsaps College


Carroll College
Rocky Mountain College


Sierra Nevada College

New Hampshire

Colby-Sawyer College
Rivier College
Saint Anselm College
Southern New Hampshire University
University of New Hampshire

New Jersey

Bloomfield College
Caldwell University
Georgian Court University
Monmouth University
Princeton University
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Rider University
Rutgers University
Saint Peter's University
Seton Hall University
William Paterson University

New Mexico

St. John's College

New York

Adelphi University
Bard College
Binghamton University
College of Mount St. Vincent
College of St. Rose
Columbia University, School of General Studies
Concordia College New York
Dowling College
Fordham University
Hofstra University
Houghton College
Iona College
Ithaca College
Le Moyne College
LIM College
Marist College
Miami University
Molloy College
Monroe College
Nazareth College
New York Institute of Technology
Pace University
Pratt Institute
Purchase College (State University of New York at Purchase)
Siena College
State University of New York at New Paltz
State University of New York College at Cortland
State University of New York College at Oneonta
State University of New York Institute of Technology
The King's College
University at Albany
Wells College

North Carolina

Elon University
Fayetteville State University
Greensboro College
Guilford College
High Point University
Lees-McRae College
Lenoir-Rhyne University
North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina at Asheville
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Western Carolina University
William Peace University

North Dakota

Sanford College of Nursing


Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland Institute of Art
Cleveland State University
College of Wooster
Columbus College of Art and Design
John Carroll University
Ohio Wesleyan University
University of Akron
University of Dayton
Wittenberg University


University of Tulsa


George Fox University
Lewis & Clark College
Linfield College
Oregon State University
University of Oregon
Willamette University


Dickinson College
Duquesne University
Juniata College
La Salle University
Lycoming College
Saint Joseph's University
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Susquehanna University
Temple University
University of Scranton
Ursinus College
Villanova University
Washington & Jefferson College
Westminster College

Puerto Rico

EDP University of Puerto Rico
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

Rhode Island

Bryant University
Providence College
Roger Williams University
Salve Regina University
University of Rhode Island

South Carolina

College of Charleston
Erskine College
Furman University
Presbyterian College
University of South Carolina
Wofford College


Fisk College
Rhodes College
Sewanee: University of the South


Abilene Christian University
Austin College
Baylor University
Hardin-Simmons University
Southern Methodist University
Southwestern University
Tarleton State University
Texas Christian University
Trinity University
University of Dallas
University of St. Thomas
Neumont University


Bennington College
Johnson State College
Lyndon State College
Marlboro College
Saint Michael's College
Sterling College
University of Vermont


Christendom College
Christopher Newport University
Emory & Henry College
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampton University
Hollins University
James Madison University
Longwood University
Old Dominion University
Patrick Henry College
Radford University
Randolph College
Randolph-Macon College
University of Mary Washington
University of Virginia
University of Virginia's College at Wise


Gonzaga University
Northwest University
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle University
Whitworth University

West Virginia

Shepherd University


Beloit College
Lawrence University


As you can see, there are a lot of early action schools. Does it give you an advantage to apply early to a school? In one sense, applying early may communicate your enthusiasm for the school and suggest that you're committed to going there. Admissions officers may appreciate this commitment.

It's possible that admissions committees accept a higher percentage of early action candidates to get a higher "yield." In admissions talk, this means that more early candidates will accept offers than regular decision candidates, so colleges can more accurately predict their enrollment numbers. At the same time, applying early isn't going to make lower grades or test scores look higher, especially since early action students tend to be some of the strongest.

Below is a timeline that you might follow if you are applying early action. By scheduling out your college planning months before this early deadline, you can be prepared with an impressive application by November.




Timeline for Applying Early Action

If you choose to apply early action, then you have to be immersed in college planning a few months earlier than you would be for regular decision deadlines (though either way, you'll benefit from preparing a long time in advance). The components that especially require early planning are the SAT or ACT, your recommendation letters, and your personal essay. In the fall, you'll also want to submit your transcript request form to your guidance office, as well as take your time filling out the Common Application or school's individual application.

In terms of the SAT or ACT, it's always a good idea to leave yourself opportunities to retest. Students almost always improve when they retake the SAT or ACT, especially if they do focused, targeted test prep in between test dates. If you apply early action, then your last opportunity to take the ACT would be the September test date. For the SAT, you could take it in October of senior year.

Since this is pushing it right up to your early action deadline, you probably wouldn't be able to view your scores before deciding whether or not to send them. With all the other busy things going on in the fall of senior year, it'd be easier to have your test scores done earlier. You could take the SAT or ACT in the spring of sophomore year, again in the fall of junior year, and then again in the spring of junior year.

Think about how much time you can devote to test prep and how many times you'd like to take the tests to achieve your target scores. As you can see, planning out your SAT and ACT could start as early as two years before your actual early action deadline.

In terms of your recommendation letters, you want to give your teachers and counselor at least a month's notice to write your letter. That means you should ask for your recs before October 1st of your senior year. It can also be a good idea to ask at the end of junior year. Your junior year teachers will remember you most clearly then, and they may appreciate how on top of college applications you are. 

Just like with letters of rec, you want to spend some time planning and writing your personal essay, and any other supplemental essays. I'd recommend working on it over the summer. Even just reading the essay prompts at the beginning of the summer will help you start brainstorming topics in the back of your mind. Then you can spend a few months drafting, getting feedback, and revising your essay to its college-ready state. 

Finally, in September and October you can work on your application, proofreading all the information and writing about your extracurricular activities in the most compelling way. By starting the application process in the spring of junior year (earlier including the SAT or ACT), you should be ready with a thoughtful and well-executed application by November. 


What's Next?

Do you have your sights set on the Ivy League? Learn what it takes to get into Harvard and other highly selective schools from this Harvard alum.

Now that you know which schools offer early action, check out this guide on all the early action deadlines! It goes over the most popular early action schools, along with a comprehensive list of all the colleges with early action deadlines

Are you also interested in early decision? This guide shows all the early decision schools and their deadlines


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Rebecca Safier
About the Author

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

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