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Early Action Schools: Complete List of EA Colleges

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 23, 2018 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 with waiting for regular notifications in March or 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 and give you a comprehensive list of all 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 have prepared 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 might 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 have a strong application ready to go. Wait until regular decision if your application would be stronger with a couple more months of preparation. Remember, your highest priority should always 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 these colleges 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 1. So feel free to hang onto that acceptance letter as you wait to hear back from the rest of the colleges you applied to. You can then 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. But 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, you could send along mid-year grades or test scores if you think they'll help your application. You could also call the admissions office to find out whether 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 that you can't apply early action anywhere else. (Note that you can still apply regular decision elsewhere.) Schools with restrictive early action policies include Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

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

Want to build the best possible college application?

We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League.

We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools.

Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.

Get Into Your Top Choice School


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 alphabetically by state. Some popular schools include Boston College, Caltech, MIT, Georgetown, UNC, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, Notre Dame, UVA, 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.


Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Auburn University

Saint John's University

Birmingham-Southern College


Oakwood University

Millsaps College


New Hampshire

Arizona Christian University

Colby-Sawyer College


Saint Anselm College

Arkansas Tech University

Southern New Hampshire University

Harding University

University of New Hampshire

Hendrix College

New Jersey

University of Arkansas

Bloomfield College


Caldwell University

Azusa Pacific University

Felician College

Biola University

Georgian Court University

California Baptist University

Kean University

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Monmouth University

California Lutheran University

Princeton University

California State University, Sacramento

Rider University

California State University, San Bernardino

Saint Peter's University

Chapman University

Seton Hall University

Concordia University Irvine

William Paterson University

Loyola Marymount University

New Mexico

The Master's University

St. John's College

Menlo College

New York

Mills College

Adelphi University

Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles

Bard College

Notre Dame de Namur University

Binghamton University

Point Loma Nazarene University

College of Mount Saint Vincent

Saint Mary's College of California

College of Saint Rose

Santa Clara University

Columbia University, School of General Studies

Simpson University

Concordia College New York

Soka University of America

Dowling College

Stanford University

Fordham University

University of the Pacific

Hofstra University

University of Redlands

Iona College

University of San Francisco

Ithaca College

Vanguard University of Southern California

Le Moyne College

Westmont College

LIM College

Whittier College

LIU Brooklyn


LIU Post

Colorado College

Manhattanville College

Colorado State University

Marist College

Fort Lewis College

Mercy College

University of Colorado Boulder

Molloy College

University of Denver

Monroe College


New York Institute of Technology

Fairfield University

Niagara University

United States Coast Guard Academy

Pace University

University of Hartford

Parsons School of Design (The New School)

University of New Haven

Pratt Institute

Yale University

The Sage Colleges


Siena College

Delaware College of Art and Design

SUNY Albany (University at Albany)

Delaware State University

SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton University)

District of Columbia

SUNY Buffalo (University at Buffalo)

Catholic University of America

SUNY Cortland

Georgetown University

SUNY New Paltz

Howard University

SUNY Oneonta

Trinity Washington University

SUNY Polytechnic Institute


SUNY Purchase (Purchase College)

Eckerd College

Utica College

Lynn University

Wells College

Palm Beach Atlantic University

North Carolina

University of Miami

Elon University

University of Tampa

Fayetteville State University


Greensboro College

Agnes Scott College

High Point University

Emmanuel College

Lees-McRae College

Georgia College and State University

Lenoir-Rhyne University

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

North Carolina State University

Georgia State University

Queens University of Charlotte

Mercer University

University of North Carolina at Asheville

Morehouse College

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)

Oglethorpe University

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Spelman College

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

University of Georgia

Warren Wilson College

Wesleyan College

Western Carolina University


North Dakota

College of Idaho

Sanford College of Nursing

Northwest Nazarene University



Case Western Reserve University

Augustana College

Cleveland Institute of Art

DePaul University

Cleveland State University

Governors State University

College of Wooster

Illinois College

John Carroll University

Illinois Wesleyan University

Miami University

Knox College

Ohio State University

Lake Forest College

Ohio Wesleyan University

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

University of Akron

University of Chicago

University of Cincinnati

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Dayton

Wheaton College

Wittenberg University



Butler University

University of Tulsa

DePauw University


Earlham College

Eastern Oregon University

Grace College

George Fox University

Hanover College

Lewis & Clark College

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Linfield College

University of Evansville

Oregon State University

University of Notre Dame

University of Oregon

Wabash College

Willamette University



Coe College

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Cornell College

Dickinson College

Wartburg College

Duquesne University


La Salle University

Bellarmine University

Lycoming College

Centre College

Saint Joseph's University

Transylvania University

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

University of Kentucky

Susquehanna University


Temple University

Centenary College of Louisiana

University of Scranton

Southern University at New Orleans

Ursinus College

Tulane University

Villanova University


Washington & Jefferson College

Maine Maritime Academy

Westminster College

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Puerto Rico

Thomas College

University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

Unity College

Rhode Island

University of Maine

Bryant University

University of Maine at Farmington

Providence College

University of Maine at Machias

Roger Williams University

University of New England

Salve Regina University


University of Rhode Island

Goucher College

South Carolina

Johns Hopkins University

College of Charleston

Loyola University Maryland

Erskine College

McDaniel College

Furman University

Mount St. Mary's University

Presbyterian College

Notre Dame of Maryland University

University of South Carolina

Salisbury University

Wofford College

St. John’s College


United States Naval Academy

Bryan College

University of Maryland (UMD)

Rhodes College

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Sewanee: University of the South

Washington College



Abilene Christian University

Assumption College

Austin College

Babson College

Baylor University

Bay Path College

Southern Methodist University

Becker College

Southwestern University

Berklee College of Music

Tarleton State University

Boston College

Texas Christian University

Bridgewater State University

Texas Lutheran University

Clark University

Trinity University

Curry College

University of Dallas

Dean College

University of St. Thomas

Emerson College


Emmanuel College

University of Utah

Framingham State University


Gordon College

Bennington College

Hampshire College

Green Mountain College

Harvard University

Johnson State College

Hellenic College

Marlboro College

Lasell College

Saint Michael's College

Lesley University

Sterling College

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

University of Vermont

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts


Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Christendom College

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Christopher Newport University

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

George Mason University

Merrimack College

Hampden-Sydney College

Montserrat College of Art

Hampton University

Northeastern University

Hollins University

Regis College

James Madison University

Salem State University

Longwood University

Simmons College

Old Dominion University

Stonehill College

Patrick Henry College

Suffolk University

Radford University

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Randolph College

University of Massachusetts Boston

Randolph-Macon College

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Sweet Briar College

University of Massachusetts Lowell

University of Mary Washington

Wheaton College

University of Virginia (UVA)

Wheelock College

University of Virginia's College at Wise

Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Worcester State University

Cornish College of the Arts


Gonzaga University

Central Michigan University

Northwest University

College for Creative Studies

Seattle Pacific University

Hillsdale College

Seattle University

Kalamazoo College

Whitworth University

Michigan State University

West Virginia

University of Michigan

Shepherd University



Bemidji State University

Beloit College

College of Saint Benedict

Carthage College

Gustavus Adolphus College

Lawrence University

Hamline University



As you can see, there are a lot of early action schools. But does it give you an advantage to apply early to a school? The short answer is yes. Applying early can communicate your enthusiasm for the school and highlight your commitment to going there.

Moreover, schools tend to accept more early action applicants than they do regular applicants so they can get a higher yield. Yield refers to the percentage of students who accept their offers of admission. 

Since early action applicants are serious about attending that school, they're more likely to accept their offers of admission. In terms of yield, the more students who accept their offers of admission, the higher a school's yield will be. And the higher a school's yield is, the easier it will be to predict enrollment numbers and avoid having to make a waitlist.

At the same time, applying early doesn't necessarily make poor grades or low SAT/ACT scores look better, especially since early action students tend to be some of the strongest applicants.




Timeline for Applying Early Action to College

If you choose to apply early action, then you have to immerse yourself in college planning a few months earlier than you would for regular decision deadlines (though either way, you'll benefit from preparing early!).

The parts that require especially early planning are the SAT/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 and take your time filling out the Common Application or school's individual application.

Here's a brief timeline showing you how to apply early action.


Step 1: Take the SAT/ACT

For the SAT/ACT, it's a good idea to leave yourself plenty of SAT/ACT test dates. Students almost always improve when they retake the SAT/ACT, especially if they do focused, targeted test prep in-between test dates. If you apply early action, your last opportunity to take the ACT is September, while your last chance to take the SAT is October (both during your senior year).

Since this is right up to your early action deadline, you probably won'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 your senior year, there's no doubt it's better to take the SAT/ACT earlier than this. We suggest taking the SAT/ACT first in the fall of your junior year, again in the spring of your junior year, and a third time (if needed) in the summer or fall after your 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 SAT/ACT target scores. As you can see, planning out your SAT/ACT could start more than a year before your actual early action deadline!


Step 2: Ask for Letters of Recommendation

In terms of your recommendation letters, give your teachers and/or counselor at least one month to write your letter. This means you should ask for your recs before October 1 your senior year.

It can be a good idea, too, to ask at the end of your junior year, since these teachers will remember you most clearly at this point. They'll likely appreciate how on top of college apps you are!


Step 3: Plan Out and Begin Writing Your College Essay

Just like with letters of rec, you want to spend some time planning and writing your personal essay, and any other supplemental essays. I recommend working on it over the summer. Even reading essay prompts can help you begin brainstorming potential topics.

You can then spend a few months drafting, getting feedback, and revising your essay until it's ready for submission.


Step 4: Finish Up Your Application

Finally, in September and October, you can work on the rest of your application, proofreading all the information in it and writing about your extracurricular activities in a compelling manner.

By starting the application process in the spring of your junior year (earlier including the SAT/ACT), you should be ready with a thoughtful and well-executed application by November for sure!

Want to build the best possible college application?

We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League.

We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools.

Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.

Get Into Your Top Choice School


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 and offers a comprehensive list of all the colleges with early action deadlines

Are you also interested in early decision? This guide covers all 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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