Understanding Single Choice Early Action
Back in June I wrote a post about the difference between Early Decision and Early Action to help families and students better understand their options in the early admission game. Recently, Michael Nardi, a government relations, economic development & public policy consultant, commented that Early Action comes in a few forms which have ramifications for students considering early applications to other schools.
And he’s absolutely right.
Some schools practice what is called Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) otherwise known as Restrictive Early Action (REA).
Let’s take a look at two of the more popular schools in the Boston area, Harvard and Boston College, to understand what all of this means.
1. If a school offers SCEA or REA, neither is a binding decision meaning that if a student is admitted, he or she can still wait to hear on their other applications before making a decision prior to May 1st.
2. Students need to pay close attention to the fine print in regards to Early Decision (ED) applications. Harvard’s SCEA policy says that while students cannot apply anywhere ED, they can apply in the second round of ED applications known as ED II if, and only if, the application due date is January 1st or later. Boston College, on the other hand will not allow a student to apply ED or ED II period.
3. Early Action applications to other schools are also affected. At Harvard, students cannot apply to any other private colleges EA but may apply to public colleges while Boston College applicants can still apply EA to both.
4. Students cannot apply using SCEA at more than one school. Both Harvard and Boston College adhere to this rule.
5. Students are allowed to apply to any other college, private or public, through Rolling Admission or Regular Decision at both Harvard and Boston College.
So why do these colleges use these restrictive policies?
Colleges admit students with the hope that the student will ultimately accept the offer and enroll there. Of all the ways to demonstrate interest, applying SCEA is one the most definitive ways to show a school they are your top choice. If you are admitted through SCEA you can still consider other offers, but you’ve given up a lot of other early admission opportunities to do so and you have sent a pretty clear message that you are likely to enroll if admitted. And students who are likely to enroll at a college are extremely valuable to admission counselors.
At the end of the day, if you have your heart set on attending Harvard, Boston College, or one of the other schools who offer a form of SCEA like Princeton, Georgetown, Yale, Notre Dame or Stanford, then applying early is most likely a good choice. Of course, you need to make sure that you are a strong candidate to begin with and that your application is flawless and ready to go by November 1st.
If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free 60-minute consultation. Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.