Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) or Restricted Early Action – It’s complicated
SCEA is like EA in that it’s nonbinding; however, you cannot apply early to any other school until you’ve heard back from your SCEA school. Once you’ve gotten the school’s decision, you can apply to other schools.
Now it’s time for the big question – should I apply early?
The good news is ED acceptance rates are often significantly higher than regular decision acceptance rates. So if you’re sure about the school and you’re prepared to submit your application, ED is a great option.
However, since it’s a binding agreement, you won’t get to see financial aid packages from other schools. You could turn down the offer if the financial aid isn’t adequate, but by then, it may be too late for you to apply anywhere else. If you apply EA or SCEA, you probably won’t get the same admissions edge as you would applying ED, but you’ll have the chance to compare financial aid offers before you make a decision.
If you’re still choosing between schools and financial aid packages, EA and SCEA will give you some flexibility to make your decision. If you’ve done your research and are 100% committed to your dream school, then apply ED. You’ve got better chances of getting in, and you can rest easy in December while your friends panic until May.