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Undergraduate Admissions

Early Action FAQ

The Early Action (EA) option is designed for those first-year 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.

You should apply Early Action if you have your application materials finalized by November 5 and UMass Amherst is a top choice for you.  This is non-binding, which means applicants are not obligated to attend UMass Amherst and have until May 1 to compare other offers and confirm their enrollment.  Applicants through Early Action receive full consideration for merit scholarships and admission to the Commonwealth Honors College.

You should choose Regular Decision if you need additional time to complete the application, and if you would like information such as grades from the first term of your senior year to be considered in the holistic review process.  Admission to some UMass Amherst majors is typically more competitive for students who apply Regular Decision.  Applicants admitted through Regular Decision also have until May 1 to confirm their enrollment.  Applicants through Regular Decision receive full consideration for merit scholarships and admission to the Commonwealth Honors College.

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.

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.


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

Standardized tests are optional for first-year applicants, please refer to our test-optional policy page for more information.

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.

Application deadline

Early Action: Application and supporting documents due November 5.

Regular Decision: Application and supporting documents due January 15.

Admissions decisions posted online

Early Action: By the end 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 sent

Beginning about March 15

Candidate Reply Date

May 1

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 10 days of when you submitted your application.

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 websites for additional information.

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).
  • 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.
  • A select group of students will be added to our waitlist. We will reexamine these students in the context of the entire pool, taking into account mid-year grades and other new academic information. 

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 sent out 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.