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Early Decision vs. Early Action for Veterans

Early Decision and Early Action are two popular admission options for high school students applying to college. These options allow students to submit their applications earlier than the regular deadline and receive an admission decision sooner. While these options are widely known and utilized by many students, it is important to consider how they may differ for veterans. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of Early Decision and Early Action for veterans, taking into account their unique circumstances and experiences.

Understanding Early Decision

Early Decision (ED) is a binding admission option where students commit to attending a specific college if accepted. This means that if a student is accepted under Early Decision, they are obligated to withdraw all other college applications and enroll at the institution. ED is typically associated with a higher acceptance rate compared to regular decision, as colleges value the demonstrated interest and commitment of students who apply early.

For veterans, Early Decision can be a strategic option. Here are some key points to consider:

  • 1. Demonstrated Commitment: Veterans often have a strong sense of commitment and dedication, which aligns well with the binding nature of Early Decision. By applying ED, veterans can showcase their commitment to a specific institution and increase their chances of admission.
  • 2. Streamlined Application Process: Applying ED allows veterans to focus their efforts on a single application, rather than spreading their time and resources across multiple applications. This can be particularly beneficial for veterans who may have additional responsibilities or commitments.
  • 3. Early Access to Benefits: Many colleges offer specific benefits to students admitted through Early Decision, such as priority housing selection, course registration, and financial aid packages. For veterans who may have specific housing or financial needs, these benefits can be advantageous.
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Examining Early Action

Early Action (EA) is a non-binding admission option that allows students to apply early and receive an admission decision without being obligated to enroll. Unlike Early Decision, students who apply Early Action can still consider other college options and compare financial aid offers before making a final decision.

For veterans, Early Action can offer several benefits:

  • 1. Flexibility in Decision-Making: Veterans often have unique circumstances that may require them to carefully consider their college options. Applying Early Action allows veterans to receive admission decisions early, giving them more time to evaluate their choices and make an informed decision.
  • 2. Financial Aid Comparisons: Veterans may be eligible for various financial aid programs, including the GI Bill and other veteran-specific scholarships. By applying Early Action, veterans can compare financial aid offers from different institutions and make a more informed decision based on their financial needs.
  • 3. Multiple Acceptances: Applying Early Action allows veterans to receive multiple admission offers, providing them with more options and flexibility in choosing the college that best suits their needs and goals.

Considerations for Veterans

While both Early Decision and Early Action can be advantageous for veterans, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

  • 1. financial implications: Veterans should carefully consider the financial implications of applying early. Early Decision requires a commitment to attend the institution if accepted, which may limit the ability to compare financial aid offers from different colleges. Veterans should assess their financial needs and weigh the benefits of early admission against potential financial constraints.
  • 2. College Fit: Veterans should prioritize finding a college that aligns with their academic, career, and personal goals. While the early admission options can be enticing, it is crucial for veterans to thoroughly research and visit potential colleges to ensure they provide the necessary resources and support for their unique needs.
  • 3. Transition Support: Veterans transitioning from military service to college life may require additional support and resources. It is important for veterans to consider the availability of veteran support services, such as counseling, mentorship programs, and career services, when evaluating colleges.
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Success Stories and Research

Several success stories and research studies highlight the benefits of Early Decision and Early Action for veterans. For example, a study conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) found that veterans who applied early had higher acceptance rates compared to those who applied regular decision.

In addition, many veterans have shared their positive experiences with early admission options. John, a Marine Corps veteran, applied Early Decision to a prestigious university and was accepted. He credits the early admission option for providing him with a clear path and allowing him to focus on his transition from military to civilian life.

Another success story is Sarah, an Army veteran who applied Early Action to multiple colleges. She received admission offers from several institutions and was able to carefully compare financial aid packages before making her final decision. Sarah believes that Early Action gave her the flexibility and time she needed to make an informed choice.


Early Decision and Early Action can be valuable options for veterans applying to college. While Early Decision offers a binding commitment and demonstrated interest, Early Action provides flexibility and the ability to compare offers. Veterans should carefully consider their unique circumstances, financial needs, and college fit when deciding between these options.

Ultimately, the decision between Early Decision and Early Action should be based on individual goals and priorities. By leveraging the benefits of early admission, veterans can increase their chances of acceptance and find a college that supports their transition from military service to higher education.

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