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Early Action FAQ’s

What is Early Action?

The Early Action (EA) option is designed for those freshman applicants who have strong academic records and wish to receive early notification for the following fall semester. Students who believe that a favorable admission decision may depend on their senior grades or on subsequent test scores typically apply under the Regular Decision option, which has a later deadline.

What is the difference between “Early Decision” and “Early Action?”

Early Decision plans are binding. If you are admitted to a college or university under Early Decision, you must withdraw all other applications. UMass Amherst does NOT offer an Early Decision option.

Early Action plans are not binding. Under Early Action (which is the only plan offered by UMass Amherst) you may apply to and be considered by other colleges. If you have been admitted to UMass Amherst under Early Action, you can choose to send your enrollment fee immediately or you can take additional time to consider your options up until the Candidates Reply Date of May 1.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of applying Early Action?

The primary advantage of applying Early Action is that you will receive an admissions decision sooner and can then plan the rest of your college search process accordingly. There is no difference in terms of admission standards, financial aid /scholarship awards, housing, or admission to Commonwealth Honors College or to a selective major.

The disadvantage of applying under EA is that your application must be completed and filed sooner, which means we will not have your senior grades or later test scores to consider during the review process.

Admission Rate

The admit rate for EA applicants is slightly higher than for Regular Decision because EA applicants tend to have stronger academic records.

Documentation

Early Action
High school grades through the junior year will be included in the review process.

Regular Decision
Senior grades (if submitted) will be included in the review process along with all prior high school grades.

Standardized test scores

Early Action
SAT and/or ACT test scores taken through October 31 are part of the file review.

Regular Decision
SAT and/or ACT test scores taken through January 30 are part of the file review.

What are the deadlines?

Application deadline

Early Action
November 1

Regular Decision
January 15 is the priority deadline; applications received after January 15 will be marked “late” and will be considered as space allows.

Supporting documentation deadline

(this includes official transcripts, standardized test scores, and at least one recommendation from a person who can assess your academic performance)

Early Action
November 20

Regular Decision
February 4

Admissions decisions mailed and posted online

Early Action
By the 15th of January

Regular Decision
Beginning first week of March and continuing through mid-April

Deadline to submit FAFSA (financial aid)

Apply by February 15 to ensure that your application arrives by the March 1 priority deadline.

Financial aid awards mailed

Beginning about March 15

Candidate Reply Date

May 1

How will you know that I want to be considered for Early Action?

We will know your intention because you will have checked the relevant box on your application. You can confirm that your application is being reviewed for EA admission on our Application Status Check web page, where you will also be able to see which required credentials have arrived and which are still missing. You will be sent an admissions ID and password to access this page, normally within ten days of when you submitted your application.

I’m interested in applying to a major which requires an audition or portfolio review. Can I still apply Early Action?

The Music and Dance departments have established audition dates which accommodate Early Action applicants. The Studio Art and the Architecture departments are also able to accommodate portfolio review for Early Action applicants. Please check the specific departmental web sites for additional information.

I applied under Regular Decision but I meant to apply for Early Action (or I changed my mind and would now like to be considered for Early Action). Is it possible to change to EA after the November 1st deadline?

While we understand that people make mistakes or subsequently reconsider their decision, we cannot move an applicant to Early Action once they have been classified as a Regular Decision applicant.

What are the possible admission decisions under Early Action?

There are three possible admission decisions for Early Action applicants:

  • An offer of admission for the upcoming fall term (contingent on successful completion of the senior year).
  • Deferral to the Regular Decision applicant pool, either because the student’s record was not as strong as others or because the application was incomplete. We will reexamine these students in the context of the entire pool, taking into account mid-year grades and other new academic information. Final decision letters for these students will be sent in late March or early April.
  • Denial of admission for students whose academic records are not competitive within the overall applicant pool. Applicants who are denied under Early Action will not be reconsidered under Regular Decision but may reapply after completing one year of collegiate study at another institution.

What can I do to enhance my chance of being admitted if I am deferred from Early Action to Regular Decision?

Applicants who were deferred from Early Action will receive a second review at the end of March. Make sure that any new academic information (mid-semester grades, higher test scores, etc.) has been sent to us by March 1. Please do not send duplicate information or additional recommendations. Visiting or contacting the Admissions Office will not enhance your chance of being admitted.

I was not admitted to Commonwealth Honors College or to a selective major. Should I appeal or reapply under Regular Decision?

Your application and academic credentials will have been reviewed carefully for admission to the major of your choice as well as your eligibility for the Honors College. A second review can be requested if you can present us with new and stronger academic credentials (for example, higher SAT/ACT scores or strong senior grades). To request reevaluation send an email to changes@admissions.umass.edu . Be sure to include your admissions ID number in the email and ensure that your new academic credentials have been sent.

If I am admitted under Early Action, will financial aid information be included in my admission material?

If you are eligible for a non-need (merit) scholarship, this information will be included in your EA admission packet. Need-based (financial aid) awards are mailed in mid-March (provided you filed your FAFSA by February 15). Please note that you must include your Social Security number on your application in order to be considered for financial aid.