Applying to a college through Early Decision is an excellent choice for many students applying to college. Whether Early Decision or Early Action are offered varies between institutions, and this is liable to change over the years. You need to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information. Read on to see Early Decision dates for the class of 2026.
What is Early Decision?
Colleges that allow Early Action and Early Decision allow applicants to submit their college applications at a much earlier date. While you can apply Early Action (unless it is restrictive) to multiple schools, you can only apply to one school through Early Decision. Early Decision is binding. The student who applies must attend that school if they are accepted.
Because of the benefits offered by applying early, any student going through the admissions process should understand and consider Early Decision.
What is Early Decision II?
Schools that offer Early Decision may also offer Early Decision II. What Early Decision II amounts to is a binding decision either near or on the Regular Decision deadline. With Early Decision II, you get more time to work on your application than for Early Decision I, and it may increase your chances of being accepted over Regular Decision. However, you lose the benefits of Early Decision I: Early Decision II will have a lower acceptance rate, and you will still have to apply to other schools through Regular Decision.
Know your college decision deadlines – find the Early Decision date for your college
An essential part of well-planned college admissions is prioritizing and planning out your applications. Starting applications early and periodically working on them will ensure a polished product when the deadlines approach. It is also inefficient to work on all your applications around the same time. You want to be able to focus and finish one set of applications so you can fully apply yourself to another.
Then, you need to decide which applications to start early so that some will be ready by the early deadlines. Even if you decide that Early Decision is not the best idea, you may want to still complete some applications by the Early Action deadline. This is a way to pace yourself so you don’t have to scramble during December. If you get accepted through Early Decision or Early Action, you are done dealing with college admissions before the New Year!
Make sure to check the Early Decision deadlines for all colleges you have on your list. As with regular decision deadlines, Early Action and Early Decision vary between schools.
Here are Early Decision Dates for the class of 2026 for some of the top schools in the US:
November 1st Early Decision
November 15th Early Decision
Top Schools without Early Decision
California Institute of Technology
Florida State University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvey Mudd College
Pennsylvania State University
Loyola Marymount University
Southern Methodist University
George Washington University
John Hopkins University
University of Colorado – Boulder
University of California Schools
New York University