When Do Early Action Results Come Out? College Applications FAQ

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Early Action is a great opportunity to increase your chances of getting into your dream school.

Have you recently applied to early action, but are now left wondering what’s next?

This article will answer all your questions about the early action deadline with a comprehensive list on early action notification dates to find out when you’ll hear back about your college application.  By the end of this article, you will know exactly what time early action is due and when college decisions come out.

Does Early Action Increase Chances?

Does Early Action Increase Chances?

Does Early Action Increase Chances?

If you are considering an early action application, then you should ask, what time is early action due?

Early action applications are typically offered by most schools, but the due dates will vary slightly. The most common early action due date is between November 1 and November 15. Make sure to get all your materials in by this time to be considered for admissions.

Before submitting any materials, have you considered—does early action actually increase your chances of getting into your first-choice college?

The answer is technically yes, but a lot of factors go into this that may impact the final decision.

Early action means that you are submitting your college application earlier so that you can find out earlier whether you will be admitted to the college. It’s important to remember that if you are applying to an early decision program, then you have to respond with an agreement to attend if your application is accepted.

Please note that unlike early decision, early action is not considered a binding agreement. You will still have the flexibility to consider your other options, other financial packages, or other programs. This is a great opportunity to reflect on your options!

Now, while submitting an early application may increase your chances of being accepted into your first-choice college, it isn’t actually an assured decision. Competition is high at this stage and many schools may offer other early application programs that take precedence over early action.

These factors are out of your control, so make sure to focus on the areas that you can change and make better for your application. Focus on your schoolwork, your overall academic performance, and study for those college entrance exams! A good application has a great chance of getting in.

What Happens If You Apply Early Action and Don't Go?

What Happens If You Apply Early Action and Don't Go?

What Happens If You Apply Early Action and Don’t Go?

If you happen to get accepted in the early action phase of a college, then congratulations! Usually, students hear back from admissions committee around the end of the fall semester or early spring. If you have been accepted, you typically have until May to confirm attendance.

There is more flexibility to early action, so you probably applied to other schools while waiting to hear back from the early action application. In this case, you might run into some big decision-making challenges. So, what happens if you aren’t able to attend the school or are just no longer interested in attending due to another circumstance?

First, let’s discuss some of the rules in early action and why you may or may not run into this problem. Some colleges have restrictions on the application process if you decide to select early action programs.

For instance, Yale has restrictive criteria on students who apply for early action. This means that students who are early action applications are not permitted to apply to another school in early action. If you have this type of restriction, it will make the college application process less complicated.

If you applied to other schools as a regular decision applicant, you will need to wait for the final regular decisions for those schools to make a well-informed judgment on which school you want to attend.

Thankfully, the notification date for regular decision schools align with the timeline that you are expected to respond to the early action school with your final decision (e.g., in May). So, once you are notified of your acceptance to other schools during regular decision, then you will really need to take the time to think about the pros and cons of each school, whether they are a good fit for your career, along with special consideration to the financial package that was offered.

Many students before you have chosen not to attend an early action school for a variety of reasons! Do not feel guilty for not wanting to attend an early action school.

Many students who were accepted in early action have declined their acceptance strictly because of the lack of finances making it too difficult for them to be able to attend and live comfortably.  This is perfectly OK. This is a fair and reasonable decision that many applicants have come to at their own volition.

Other students have even run into personal challenges or family related emergencies, forcing them to stay closer to home. Thus, students may be forced to decline acceptance to an early action college but choose to attend a college in their home state instead to act as caretakers for their families. These types of decisions are perfectly fine, as well.

Either way, you want to make sure to have discussions about which college you want to attend, or which college is best for your current situation early on with your family. We suggest making these discussions ongoing because your circumstances may change at any given time. Reflect on what you have going on, what is expected of you and decide on the basis of those circumstances in addition to your professional career goals.

How Long Does it Take to Get Early Action Results? 

How Long Does it Take to Get Early Action Results?

How Long Does it Take to Get Early Action Results? 

At this point, you may have already applied to an early action college. Now, you are anxiously awaiting to hear back from the admissions committee of your dream college.

During this time, you are probably wondering, when do college decisions come out?

Regular college decisions usually come out in May so you will certainly hear back from your college before then. However, in more specific terms, early action decisions only take a few months, with most early action notification deadlines announced at the end of the fall semester. Early action notification dates will also vary by college, depending on how many other programs the college may have that follow a similar process as early action (e.g., Early Decision I and Early Decision II).

Most decisions are posted online, so you’ll need to check your school’s website periodically, particularly around the expected timeline that was shared.

In the next section, we have tried to make things easier for you by creating a complete table on the anticipated early action notification dates for the top 50 schools, as listed on the U.S. News.

Please note that many of these schools do not have an early notification deadline listed. This is because some schools will usually decide on an early notification deadline based on how many applications are received, admissions committee’s commitments, and other external factors that are likely out of your control.

Make sure to check the school website for the ones that are listed as unavailable since these might be updated later on in the school year.

A Complete Table of Anticipated Early Action Notification Dates for Top 50 Schools

A Complete Table of Anticipated Early Action Notification Dates for Top 50 Schools

Top 50 Schools (in sequential order) Early Action Notification Dates
Princeton University December 12
Harvard University December 12
Columbia University March 1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology December 14
Yale University December 12
Standard University December 6
University of Chicago Mid-December
University of Pennsylvania Not listed
Northwestern University Not listed
Duke University Not listed
John Hopkins University Not listed
California Institute of Technology Mid-December
Dartmouth College Not listed
Brown University Not listed
University of Notre Dame December 13
Vanderbilt University Not listed
Cornell University Not listed
Rice University Not listed
Washington University in St. Louis Not listed
University of California- Los Angeles Not listed
Emory University Not listed
University of California – Berkeley Not listed
University of Southern California Not listed
Georgetown University December 15
Carnegie Mellon University Not listed
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor December 24
Wake Forest University Rolling basis
University of Virginia January 31
Georgia Institute of Technology Mid-January
New York University Not listed
Tufts University Not listed
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill Late January
University of Rochester Not listed
University of California – Santa Barbara Not listed
University of Florida Not listed
University of California – Irvine Not listed
Boston College Not listed
University of California – San Diego Not listed
University of California – Davis Not listed
Boston University Not listed
Brandeis University Not listed
Case Western Reserve University December 17
College of William and Mary Early December
Northeastern University February 1
Tulane University December 19
University of Wisconsin – Madison Late December
Villanova University January 15
University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign December 13
University of Texas – Austin Does not offer early action
Lehigh University Does not offer early action

What Might Cause a Delay in an Early Action Result?

What Might Cause a Delay in an Early Action Result?

What Might Cause a Delay in an Early Action Result?

Now, early action decisions offer three options: (1) admit; (2) deny; or (3) defer. Defer decisions mean that the application’s final decision will be delayed. Reasons for this aren’t well-defined because it will ultimately depend on your application and academic performance.

Is It Better to Apply Early Action or Regular Decision?

Is It Better to Apply Early Action or Regular Decision?

Early action and regular decision applications both serve a unique purpose. Early action applications are for students who may have an excellent track record, demonstrating how they have excelled in various areas (GPA, SAT, volunteering experience, etc.).

If you apply to early action, you are asking them to review this scale of an application before any others. However, you will be in a pool of students who have performed similarly and who have applied with the same track record (or better).

There are greater benefits to apply early action than regular decision, but there are some disadvantages that you should consider for early action.

First, submitting your application materials early might serve to disadvantage you. What if you happened to do really well on your SATs the second time around, but have already submitted your college application? These decisions for earlier consideration need to be well thought out—think about your current state, your transcripts, your SAT scores, and decide whether this time is the best time or if you think you should do better.

Can You Switch From Early Action to Regular Decision?

Can You Switch From Early Action to Regular Decision?

Can You Switch From Early Action to Regular Decision?

You can certainly make the switch from early action to regular decision, but you cannot make this switch with the same college. For example, if you applied to University of Texas in early action and then received a deny decision, you cannot reapply to University of Texas as a regular decision applicant.


We hate to break it to you like this, but if your application was not considered during early action, the likelihood of being accepted at regular decision is much lower. Also, schools usually have policies that do not allow applicants to make these types of switches in their applications, especially after receiving the admission committee’s decision. If you get denied, you’ll have to reapply next year to the same school.

However, if your early action application was deferred, this means that the application will be reevaluated at a later time during regular decision. You are not necessarily making this change yourself, but this is how it may be possible to switch from early action to regular decision.

Wrapping Things Up: Early Action Notification Dates

There you have it!

We hope that we have answered all your questions about early action deadline and early action notification dates. At this point, you should know about what happens in early action, what happens if you don’t decide to attend, and some explanations for why your application may have been delayed. We have also provided you with a list of early action notification deadlines to help guide your college application process.

The important thing to remember is that early action is a great way to go if you have performed well academically and if this is your top choice school. Don’t apply if you’re not sure this college is the right one for you.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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