Early Decision Notification Dates for the Class of 2026

October 21, 2021
By AdmissionSight

Early Decision Notification Dates for the Class of 2026

The college applications process is a momentous time full of excitement and possibilities. But this time is also associated with a lot of nerves and anxiety. You’ve put in years of time, energy, and investment into preparing for college, and you finally get to see the fruits of all that work. One of the most nerve-wracking times is the period in between when you submit your college applications and when you hear back from the colleges to which you applied. Since you applied early, you’ll hear back quicker than most students, but that doesn’t make the waiting period any less stressful. Luckily, every college announces their early decision notification dates so you can know exactly when to expect to receive your decision. Even if you’re not one to worry, it’s still crucial to know the early notification dates of the schools to which you applied.

This is especially true if you applied to more than one college or university for early decision. You don’t want to end up confirming your acceptance at one school right away only to realize later you got accepted to your number one choice because their early decision notification date was later.

At AdmissionSight, we’ve been helping students prepare for the college applications process for over a decade. A critical component of that preparation is knowing key dates and planning accordingly. Here, we’re going to provide you with a detailed list of early decision notification dates to some of the most popular universities and colleges in the country.

When can you expect your early action decisions for the Class of 2026?

Following the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, colleges and universities across the country struggled to stick to their standard timelines. Early decision notification dates were pushed up at some schools, giving applicants even more time to make their decision.

Female student looking outside the window.

Other schools pushed back their notification dates to give some students more time to apply. Both adjustments had their upsides and downsides. The Class of 2026 can expect their early action notification dates to arrive according to the standard yearly schedule. For decades, colleges and universities both public and private have followed a fairly uniform schedule.

After submitting applications for early action or early decision either on or before November 1st, students can expect their early decision notification dates to be around mid-December. That’s exactly what you’ll see for the vast majority of colleges on this list.

It’s important to bear in mind that despite these dates being official, they’re not set in stone. Many colleges and universities make a note to advise applicants that these dates are subject to change. While you should certainly mark the relevant dates on your calendar, understand that you might not receive your early decision or early action decision on the exact date stated here.

Some colleges and universities will issue official date adjustments in order to keep applicants in the know. It’s advisable to closely follow the schools you’re applying to so you stay up to date on any changes in the early decision notification dates. Join the newsletter if there’s one available!

As December gets closer, you can expect these changes to become more accurate and dependable as colleges have had more time to fine-tune their admissions timelines.

College                                                               EA/ED Notification Date
Amherst CollegeDec 11
Babson CollegeMid-Dec (ED) / Jan 1 (EA)
Barnard CollegeDec 14
Bates CollegeDec 20 (ED) / Feb 15 (EDII)
Bentley UniversityLate December (ED) / February 1, 2022 (EDII)
Boston CollegeDec 3
Boston UniversityDec 14
Bowdoin CollegeDec 11 (ED) / Mid-Feb (EDII)
Brandeis UniversityDec 15
Brown UniversityDec 17
Cal Tech-Dec 13
Carnegie Mellon UniversityDec 12
Case Western UniversityDec 7 (ED) / Dec 22 (EA)
Clark UniversityDec 20 (ED) / Jan 20 (EA) / Feb 20 (ED-II)
Clemson CollegeFeb 15 (EA)
Colgate UniversityMid-December (ED)
Columbia UniversityDec 15
Cooper UnionLate December
Cornell UniversityDec 17
Dartmouth CollegeDec 16
Davidson CollegeLate December
Duke UniversityDec 18
Emory UniversityDec 9
Fordham UniversityDec 19 (ED & EA)
George Washington UniversityDec 17 (ED)
Georgetown UniversityDec 13
GeorgiaTechDec 4 for In-State / Mid-January for Nout-of-State (EA 2)
Grinnell CollegeMid-December (ED)
Hamilton CollegeDec 15
Harvard UniversityDec 17
Harvey Mudd CollegeDec 11
Indiana University BloomingtonJan 15 (EA)
Johns Hopkins UniversityDec 11 (ED) and Feb 1 (EA)
Middlebury CollegeDec 12(ED) and Mid-Feb (ED-II)
MITDec 19
Mount Holyoke CollegeLate Dec (ED-I) and Late Jan (ED-II)
New York University (NYU)Dec 15 (ED-I) and Feb 15 (ED-II)
Northeastern UniversityDec 9 (ED) / Feb 1 (EA)
Northwestern UniversityDec 18
Oberlin CollegeDec 15 (ED) / Feb 1 (ED-II)
Occidental CollegeDec 15 (ED) / Feb 20 (ED-II)
Penn StateDec 24 (EA)
Pomona CollegeDec 15 (ED I) and Feb 15 (ED II)
Princeton UniversityMid-December (SCEA)
Purdue UniversityJan 15
Rice UniversityDec 10
Rutgers UniversityFeb 15
Santa Clara UniversityLate December
Smith CollegeMid-December (ED)
Southern Methodist UniversityMid-December (ED)
Stanford UniversityDec 11
Swarthmore UniversityDec 15
Tufts UniversityMid-December (ED I) and Mid-February (ED II)
Tulane UniversityDec 17 (ED) / Jan 15 (EA)
University of ChicagoDec 21
University of Illinois at ChicagoDec 1 (EA)
University of GeorgiaNov 20 (EA)
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignMid-Feb
University of MarylandFeb 1 (EA)
University of MiamiDec 11 (ED) / Late January (EA)
University of MichiganLate January
University of North Carolina (UNC)Late January (EA)
University of Notre DameDec 16
University of PennsylvaniaDec 16
University of RichmondDec 15 (ED) / Jan 25 (EA) / Feb 15 (ED-II)
University of RochesterMid-December (ED) / Early February (ED-II)
University of San FranciscoMid-December
University of South Carolina
University of Texas at AustinBy Feb 1
University of VirginiaDec 11 / Mid-Feb (EA)
University of WisconsinBy Jan 31
Vanderbilt UniversityDec 15 (ED I) and Feb 15 (ED II)
Villanova UniversityDec 15 (ED I), Jan 29 (EA) and Mar 1 (ED II)
Virginia TechDec 15
Washington University in St. LouisDec 14
Wellesley CollegeDec 12
Wesleyan UniversityDec 12
William & MaryDec 7
Williams CollegeDec 11
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteDec 14 (ED) / Jan 15 (EA) / Feb 15 (ED-II)
Yale UniversityDec 16 (EA)

Why Should You Apply Early?

You have a lot on your plate as a high schooler preparing for college. Not only do you have to compile all of the required documents and turn them in before the application deadline, you also have to keep up with your current course work and keep your grades high. As a result, many high schoolers wonder what the advantages are to applying early.

After all, why would you give yourself less time to prepare for the college admissions process? In reality, the answer is quite simple. Applying during the early decision or early action timeline can actually increase your chances of getting into the school of your choice.

That sounds too good to believe, right? Well, it’s actually true! Take a look at the chart below to compare the acceptance rate of Ivy League universities for their regular decision and early decision application timelines. You’ll see a considerable difference in the admission rates.

InstitutionRegular Acceptance RateEarly Action/Decision Acceptance Rate
Brown University5.73%21.07%
Columbia University4.33%15.91%
Cornell University8.34%24.26%
Dartmouth College6.88%24.89%
Harvard University2.76%14.54%
Princeton University3.81%14.79%
University of Pennsylvania6.47%18.55%
Yale University4.69%14.69%

These numbers might seem too good to believe, but they’re evidence of the advantage of applying early to your college of choice. Applying during early decision or early action does require extra effort, organization, and management on your part. But the results are worth it. The extra work you put in is noticed by admissions officers. Applying during the early decision or early action timeline demonstrates initiative, confidence, and determination.

With tens of thousands of students applying from across the country and the entire globe, admissions officers are looking for anything that will help worthwhile students stand out from the crowd. The mere act of taking on the challenge of applying early will work wonders for ensuring your college application makes it to the top of the pile.

A higher acceptance rate and a greater impression on admissions officers are excellent reasons to apply early. But they’re not the only advantage students can gain when opting for this alternative admission timeline. In fact, one of the most compelling reasons to apply early is to figure out whether or not you’ve been accepted to the college of your choice early on in the process.

As you can see from the timeline provided above, students who apply during early decision will receive their letters of acceptance or rejection earlier than they would have if applying during regular decision.

This earlier notification can help reduce the anxiety and stress involved with waiting to hear back from the schools to which you applied. It also gives you more time to make concrete plans for your transition to college. You’ll have a Headstart on making a financial plan, choosing housing, buying books, and much, much more.

Tips for Applying During Early Decisions or Early Action

Applying to college is a challenge alone. Deciding to apply during early action or early decision requires an even more involved and organized approach. But it is possible! In fact, it’s highly advised that students who were confident in their chosen school apply during these earlier timelines to take advantage of the benefits that come along with it. Here, will take a look at some strategies and tricks you can use to ensure your early decision application submission goes smoothly.

1. Markdown important dates.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the dates involved when applying to college. This is especially true when applying during the early timelines. That’s why it’s imperative that students mark down important dates in their calendars. The two most crucial dates to keep in mind are the early decision deadline and the early decision notification dates.

Female student writing in a wooden table.

Writing these important dates down early on will make sure that you remember them accurately and that you don’t accidentally schedule conflicting appointments or responsibilities. As we mentioned before, some of these early decision notification dates are still tentative. It’s prudent to check in with the school you’re applying to regularly to determine if they’ve changed their early decision deadlines or early decision notification dates.

2. Get started early.

There’s a reason it’s called early decision and early action. These application timelines come months before the regular decision application timelines. While the clear advantage is that you learn about your acceptance or rejection into the universities of your choice, the downside is that you have to apply earlier than normal.

This requires a significant amount of paperwork including high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, college essays, and much more. As a result, you’ll want to get started earlier than you would have during the regular decision application timeline. We recommend high schoolers give themselves at least six months to compile everything needed for the regular decision application timeline.

3. Know what you need to submit.

Another critical step during early action or early decision is to have a clear idea of what documents are required for the application process. The vast majority of colleges and universities across the country require students to submit the same materials for early decision as they do for regular decision. However, it’s still important to check to see if there are any differences in what’s required during these two different application timelines.

You’d hate to work hard for months only to realize that you’re missing a key document essentially notifying your application. Fortunately, it’s easy to find required documents for applicants on the official web pages of colleges and universities. Making a checklist in a notebook, on your computer, or on a whiteboard, is a great way to visually cross off each required document as you obtain it.

4. Work with a reputable college admissions specialist.

Preparing for an early decision or early action timeline should start as early as possible. Consulting with an experienced and reputable college entrance expert can help you succeed when applying early so you can take full advantage of the benefits offered through this path. AdmissionSight is one such college admissions specialist with the skills and expertise needed to help high schoolers best prepare for early application.

Female student doing a thumbs up on someone while smling.

How does it work? We’ll first help you determine what’s required for you to successfully apply during early application or early action based on the schools to which you’re applying. We’ll then provide key services to help you get everything prepared effectively and in time for early submission. Take a lot of the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty involved in applying during early action or early decision by working with an experienced professional.

Nail the College Admissions Process & Get Into the School of Your Choice

Applying to college is a challenging time for many students as it requires a lot of time, energy, and focus. Many high schoolers feel a significant amount of stress and anxiety during this time as there’s a lot at stake as your application can determine whether or not you get accepted into the school of your choice. That might sound a bit scary, but it doesn’t have to!

What if we told you there was a surefire way to increase your chances of getting into the school of your choice? Better yet, it doesn’t require an inordinate amount of work on your part? It might sound good to be true, but it’s not! At AdmissionSight, we specialize in helping students just like you better prepare for the college application process so you can get accepted to your dream school.

In fact, 75% of the students we work with either get accepted into an Ivy League school or Top 10 University. How does it work? Well, we offer a wide range of services specifically designed to help high schoolers nail each portion of their application. Each of our services is custom-tailored to meet the specific needs of each student based on their goals, desired school, and personal interests.

If you’re interested in learning more about what we have to offer and how you can benefit, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to contact us to set up a free consultation. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.

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