Your Guide to Early Applications to The Ivy League

15/11/202311 minute read
Your Guide to Early Applications to The Ivy League

If you’re an aspiring Ivy League student, you've probably heard the buzz about "early applications." But how do early applications impact your application to the Ivy League, is it always the best choice? 

In this blog, we’ll explore what early applications are, which Ivy League schools accept them, key early application dates and expert insights. 

With excellent academics, expansive alumni networks, unparalleled research opportunities, and a rich tapestry of extracurricular activities, the Ivy League stands as the top choice for many students.

As acceptance rates decline, applicants are actively seeking strategies to maximize their admission prospects. One highly effective approach is through early applications.

What Are Early Applications?

Early applications are essentially a way for you to submit your college applications ahead of the regular deadline, giving you a head start in the competitive world of college admissions.

There are three types of early applications:

1. Early Decision (ED)

Think of Early Decision as the express lane to your dream school.

When you opt for Early Decision, you're making a commitment – if you're accepted, you're bound to attend that particular college. It's a bold move that showcases your unwavering dedication to a specific institution. Just be sure you've done your homework and found your true academic love before taking this plunge.

2. Early Action (EA)

Early Action is like the middle ground between Early Decision and the regular application process.

With Early Action, you get to submit your application early, but you're not locked into attending that school if accepted. It's a fantastic option if you want to show your interest to several colleges without making a binding commitment just yet.

3. Restrictive Early Action (REA)

Now, let's throw a curveball into the mix – Restrictive Early Action. This type is similar to Early Action, but with a twist. Some colleges have a "restrictive" clause, meaning you can't apply to other private institutions under their early programs.

It's a bit like having an exclusive date – you're free to mingle with other colleges, but you're keeping your options limited within a certain circle.

Early Application Types
Application TypeBinding?Application Deadline
Early DecisionYes - you have to enroll and withdraw all other offers1 November
Early ActionNo1 November
Restrictive Early ActionYes - only for other early applications. You can still apply for through regular decision1 November

Ivy League Acceptance Rates: Regular vs Early Applications

Applying early demonstrates not just interest but a deep commitment.

Early applicants often have a higher acceptance rate compared to their counterparts in the regular pool. It's like being first in line for the hottest concert – you secure your spot before the masses flood in.

While exact rates can vary from year to year, the general trend is that Ivy League Early Decision acceptance rates often hover above the regular acceptance rates. Early Action acceptance rates, though not binding, also tend to be more favorable than the regular pool.

Applying early can be your strategic advantage. It shows you're not just dipping your toes; you're diving headfirst into the academic waters.


Which Ivy League Schools Accept Early Applications?

All ivy league schools accept early applications. More than half of the Ivy League accept Early Decision applications, while the remaining schools accept Restrictive Early Action.

It's noteworthy that, as of 2023, none of the Ivy League schools have adopted the Early Action model. 

Which Ivy League Schools Accept Early Applications?
UniversityEarly Application Type
CornellEarly Decision
ColumbiaEarly Decision
U PennEarly Decision
DartmouthEarly Decision
BrownEarly Decision
HarvardRestrictive Early Action
YaleRestrictive Early Action
PrincetonRestrictive Early Action
StanfordRestrictive Early Action

When Are Ivy League Early Decision and Early Action Deadlines?

The early application deadline for both Early Decision and Restrictive Early Action for all Ivy League schools is 1 November.

All Ivy League schools announce the early applications results in mid-December.

These are the dates listed on all Ivy League websites as of the date this blog is published.

Ivy League Key Dates
UniversityEarly Application DeadlineEarly Application Results
All Ivy League Schools1 NovemberMid-December

Expert Insights

At Crimson Education many of the students who have partnered with Advisors in our global network have had exceptional success receiving offers from top-tier colleges and universities. The success of our EA/ED applicants in particular says a lot about how an effective, personalized EA/ED strategy can truly boost your odds for admissions — as we have had more than 340 early admits receive offers to the US Top 50 Universities, including 60+ success stories at Ivy League schools and 20+ admits to Stanford and MIT.

How I Got Into Cornell

Listen to our YouTube Video: “How Max Got Into Cornell”

As you navigate your own decision, consider getting input from a college counselor, other trusted and informed adults, or reach out to a Crimson Education Advisor.

In the meantime here’s a few key strategy tips our Advisors spotlighted for this article:

You already feel confident you’ve identified your top-choice school
Your transcripts through the end of grade 11 already demonstrate academic rigor and good grades (as early admissions applicants won’t have any senior-year fall transcripts to submit)
Meeting the early deadline (typically Nov. 1) doesn’t preclude you from submitting a well prepared and thoughtful application
If applying ED, you’ve fully reviewed and considered how ED commitments will limit your school choices and financial aid options

Working with a Counselor

Applying Early increases your chances of acceptance, and working with a Crimson strategist can increase it further. Students working with Crimson are 7 times more likely to gain admission to their dream university!

What Makes Crimson Different

Crimson students are 7x more likely to gain acceptance to their dream college!

Remember, you don't have to navigate this journey alone. Crimson provides a comprehensive suite of services, from academic mentoring and test prep to essay assistance, extracurricular guidance, and career mentoring, ensuring a holistic approach to your college preparation journey.