Choosing College: EA and ED

By Ainsley Carpenter


The college application process is not known for being the highlight of a high school senior’s year. Students tend to curse the process more than praise it due to the stress of standardized testing and hours of arduous essay-writing. Many students are also forced to balance applications with school, which does not get any easier, and multiple extracurriculars such as sports, clubs, and community service. This cumulates into a highly-stressful few months that cap off the years students have spent preparing for college applications by cultivating impressive resumés, report cards, and recommendations. Although colleges attempt to write essay prompts that give students the opportunity to present their personality, character and years of hard work, many seniors struggle with the writing portion of their applications.

“Writing the essays and talking about myself was stressful because I wanted to portray myself as an interesting well-rounded person, but I also hate talking about myself so much,” senior Natasha Thompson said.

Thompson, who spent around 20 hours on her early applications, added that the biggest problem was balancing school work with applications. 

“Teachers were understanding that I had college apps and pushed stuff back, but I still had a lot of homework to do and was pressed for time, so I did not get much sleep,”Thompson said.

The most important deadline for college applicants is November 1, the due date of almost all early applications. There are two main types of early applications: Early Action, which is simply a non-binding way to hear back from schools much more quickly, and Early Decision, a contract which states that, if accepted, the applicant will attend that specific school. Students may apply to any number of schools through EA, but only to one school through ED. Some students feel that one school checks all of their boxes and therefore can commit through ED.

“I applied ED because I loved everything about that school and felt ready to commit there, so I wanted the best possible chance of acceptance,” senior Samantha Zagha said. 

Other students, who may not be completely set on one institution or are set on a school that only offers EA or Regular Decision, choose not to apply ED.

“I chose not to apply ED because I did not feel ready to commit to a single school yet,” Thompson said.

Throughout the whole EA and ED process, Pinewood college counselor Marvin Coote has personally met and worked with every single student in the class of 2020. 

“Over 90 percent of our seniors applied EA, and ED was just over 41 percent. While there’s not a true advantage to applying EA, it does give more of an opportunity for [college admissions staff] to give more of an in-depth read because there are fewer applications,” Coote said.

When asked what he would say to this year’s senior class as they begin to receive decisions from their EA and ED applications, Coote had some words of encouragement.

“This does not define you; it’ll all take care of itself in the end,” Coote said.