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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, your 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?

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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.

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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 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 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:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

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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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