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When do Early Decision Results Come Out?

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Early Decision results are due any day now, but when are they coming exactly. As students wait with bated breath, we’ve decided to help ease your anxieties by collecting the results dates for some of the nation’s top schools.

Waiting to hear back from colleges is the most unnerving part of the process since you can no longer impact the result. While your wait is shorter than most, it still feels like an eternity. We’re happy to inform you that you won’t have to wait much longer and that most ED results will be going out over the next week. Let’s dive in!

ED and EA Decision Dates

SchoolED DecisionEA Decision
BabsonMid-DecemberJan. 1st
Boston CollegeDec. 15thN/A
Boston UniversityMid-DecemberN/A
BrandeisDec. 15thN/A
BrownMid-DecemberN/A
CaltechN/AMid-December
Carnegie MellonDec. 15thN/A
Case WesternDec. 11thDec. 21st
ColumbiaMid-DecemberN/A
CornellMid-DecemberN/A
DartmouthMid-DecemberN/A
DukeMid-DecemberN/A
EmoryDec. 15thN/A
GeorgetownN/ADec. 15th
Georgia TechN/ADec. 11th/TBA
HarvardN/AMid-December
Johns HopkinsDec. 10thN/A
MITN/AMid-December
NYUDec. 15thN/A
NortheasternDec. 15thFeb. 1st
NorthwesternMid-DecemberN/A
Notre DameN/AMid-December
PrincetonN/AMid-December
RiceDec. 10thN/A
StanfordN/ADec. 15th
TuftsMid-DecemberN/A
TulaneDec. 15thJan. 15th
UChicagoMid-DecemberMid-December
UPennMid-DecemberN/A
UT AustinN/AFeb. 1st
UVAMid-DecemberMid-February
VanderbiltDec. 15thN/A
Washington University of St. LouisDec. 17thN/A
William & MaryEarly DecemberN/A
YaleN/AMid-December
ED and EA Decision Dates

What Does “Mid-December” Mean?

Many schools are irritatingly vague about when you can expect your results. This is intentional; colleges want to give themselves leeway, and not make promises that they can’t deliver on. While this causes irritation for students, universities have judged this annoyance better than the alternative.

Mid-December means you can expect to see your results anywhere from the 10th to the 20th, although this can and will vary depending on the school and year; just because results were released on a certain date last year doesn’t mean they will be this time around. When the results come out is dependent on a number of different factors.

The reason for this uncertainty is the number of applications schools receive, and the quick turnaround time for ED and EA applications. Colleges receive and then need to process, thousands of applications in the early rounds. Each of these needs to be read, sometimes multiple times weighed, evaluated, and judged in the context of its peers. While there are fewer applicants ED than there are in the regular decision round, the number of students who apply early has been steadily increasing.

While schools want to say with certainty when they will hear back, they don’t know how many applications they will receive. Therefore, they don’t want to commit to having their admissions officers read 5,000 applications in a month and a half. Admissions officers are dedicated professionals, but they are people too, and can’t spend all their time reading applications in order to finish before a hard deadline. They do, however, wish to finish before the holiday break, which is why most schools will let you know by Mid-December.

Thus while softer deadlines are unpopular with students, they are unlikely to go anywhere, especially if the trend of increasing ED applications continues.

Why are Early Action Dates Later?

Most schools only offer ED or EA admissions, but a few offer both. For these schools, ED decisions are almost always released before EA decisions. This is because ED is binding, while EA is not.

If you are admitted ED, you no longer need to worry about applying to other colleges; you are contractually obligated to attend the school that admitted you. On the other hand, if you applied EA, then you are free to play the field in the regular admissions round, and see if you can get a better offer somewhere else. 

Thus students who apply EA are more likely to continue working on college applications, and admissions officers feel less pressure to get back to them than students who apply ED. Of course, we recommend all students continue working on regular decision applications even after they apply ED or EA, because half a month is not sufficient time to create a high-quality application.

Finally, many schools want to encourage students to apply ED. Students who apply and are admitted early decision increase a school’s yield, the percentage of admitted students who go on to enroll. This is a factor in a school’s rankings, which administrators care about a great deal (even when they pretend they don’t). Thus hearing back earlier when applying ED instead of EA is another carrot schools use to entice applications.

Restrictive Early Action

The following schools offer restrictive early action: Harvard, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. This differs slightly from both ED and EA.

Like Early Action, you are not bound to attend a school you apply to REA. Like Early Decision, however, you may apply to only a single school REA. You are allowed to apply to public schools early but may only submit a single early application to a private college when applying REA.

Applying REA can help your admissions chances, but this is mostly used by colleges that don’t care about their yield. Harvard assumes that if you are admitted, you are going to attend, and they are right for the most part.

Final Thoughts

The wait to hear back from schools after you’ve submitted your applications is often nail-biting. This is one of the largest benefits of applying early; you hear back much sooner than students applying RD, and can begin planning for the future that much quicker. That said, the wait is still longer than many students enjoy.

We hope that by telling you when you can expect your results (soon!), we have made your wait more tolerable. We wish you the best of luck and hope you hear the news all students desire. If you don’t, however, know that your college story doesn’t have to end here. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn how we can increase your chances of admission for the next round of decisions.

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