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Early Action Schools: Complete List of EA Colleges


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 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 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. This 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, Stanford, and Yale.




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 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 use the ctrl + F function on your keyboard to type in the first few letters of the school and be brought right to it.

Note: There are currently no schools in Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wyoming with Early Action admissions. We'll be sure to update this article if this changes.



  • Auburn University
  • Birmingham-Southern College



  • Hendrix College
  • University of Arkansas



  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Biola University
  • California Baptist University
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • California Lutheran University
  • Chapman University
  • Concordia University Irvine
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • The Master's University
  • Menlo College
  • Mount Saint Mary's University
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Saint Mary's College of California
  • Santa Clara University
  • Simpson University
  • Soka University of America
  • Stanford University
  • University of the Pacific
  • University of Redlands
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Southern California
  • Vanguard University of Southern California
  • Westmont College
  • Whittier College



  • Colorado College
  • Colorado State University
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Denver



  • Fairfield University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • University of New Haven
  • Yale University



  • Delaware College of Art and Design
  • University of Delaware


District of Columbia

  • Catholic University of America
  • Georgetown University
  • Howard University



  • Eckerd College
  • Lynn University
  • University of Miami
  • University of Tampa



  • Agnes Scott College
  • Emmanuel College
  • Georgia College and State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
  • Georgia State University
  • Mercer University
  • Morehouse College
  • Oglethorpe University
  • Spelman College
  • University of Georgia


body_Kessler_Campanile,_Georgia_TechGeorgia Tech (Davidhermanns/Wikimedia Commons)



  • College of Idaho
  • Northwest Nazarene University



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



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



  • Coe College
  • Cornell College
  • University of Iowa
  • Wartburg College



  • Bellarmine University
  • Centre College
  • Transylvania University
  • University of Kentucky



  • Centenary College of Louisiana
  • Tulane University



  • Maine Maritime Academy
  • Saint 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
  • Loyola University Maryland
  • McDaniel College
  • Mount St. Mary's University
  • Salisbury University
  • St. John's College
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Washington College



  • Assumption College
  • Babson College
  • Bay Path University
  • Becker College
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Bridgewater State University
  • Clark University
  • Curry College
  • Dean College
  • Emerson College
  • Emmanuel College
  • Framingham State University
  • Gordon College
  • Hampshire College
  • Harvard University
  • 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 (MIT)
  • 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 Boston
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Wheaton College
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Worcester State University



  • Central Michigan University
  • College for Creative Studies
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Michigan


body_Michigan_Union_UMUniversity of Michigan in Ann Arbor



  • College of Saint Benedict
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Hamline University
  • Minneapolis College of Art and Design
  • Saint John's University
  • University of Minnesota—Twin Cities



  • Millsaps College



  • University of Nevada--Reno


New Hampshire

  • Saint Anselm College
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • University of New Hampshire


New Jersey

  • Bloomfield College
  • Caldwell University
  • Felician College
  • Georgian Court University
  • Kean University
  • Monmouth University
  • Princeton University
  • Rider University
  • Rutgers—New Brunswick
  • Saint Peter's University
  • Seton Hall University
  • William Paterson University


New Mexico

  • St. John's College


New York

  • Adelphi University
  • Bard College
  • College of Mount Saint Vincent
  • College of Saint Rose
  • Columbia University, School of General Studies
  • Concordia College New York
  • Fordham University
  • Hofstra University
  • Iona College
  • Ithaca College
  • Le Moyne College
  • LIM College
  • LIU Brooklyn
  • LIU Post
  • Manhattanville College
  • Marist College
  • Molloy College
  • New York Institute of Technology
  • Niagara University
  • Pace University
  • Parsons School of Design (The New School)
  • Pratt Institute
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • The Sage Colleges
  • Siena College
  • SUNY Albany (University at Albany)
  • SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton University)
  • SUNY Buffalo (University at Buffalo)
  • SUNY Cortland
  • SUNY New Paltz
  • SUNY Oneonta
  • SUNY Polytechnic Institute
  • SUNY Purchase (Purchase College)
  • Utica College
  • Wells College


North Carolina

  • Elon University
  • High Point University
  • Lees-McRae College
  • Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Queens University of Charlotte
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • Warren Wilson College
  • Western Carolina University



  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Cleveland Institute of Art
  • College of Wooster
  • John Carroll University
  • Miami University
  • Ohio State University
  • Ohio Wesleyan University
  • University of Akron
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Dayton
  • Wittenberg University



  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Tulsa



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



  • Duquesne University
  • La Salle University
  • Lycoming College
  • Penn State (all undergraduate campuses)
  • Saint Joseph's University
  • Susquehanna University
  • Temple University
  • University of Scranton
  • Ursinus College
  • Villanova University
  • Washington & Jefferson College
  • Westminster College


Rhode Island

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


South Carolina

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



  • Rhodes College
  • Sewanee: University of the South
  • University of Tennessee--Knoxville



  • Abilene Christian University
  • Austin College
  • Baylor University
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Southwestern University
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Texas Lutheran University
  • Trinity University
  • University of Dallas
  • University of St. Thomas


body_Old_Main_Baylor_UniversityBaylor University in Waco, Texas



  • University of Utah



  • Bennington College
  • Marlboro College
  • Saint Michael's College
  • Sterling College
  • University of Vermont



  • Christendom College
  • Christopher Newport University
  • George Mason University
  • 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
  • Sweet Briar College
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Virginia's College at Wise



  • Cornish College of the Arts
  • Northwest University
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Seattle University
  • Whitworth University


West Virginia

  • Shepherd University



  • Beloit College
  • Carthage College
  • Lawrence University
  • University of Wisconsin—Madison


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 decision 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 an offer 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 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 applications 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!



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.



Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

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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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