What is Restrictive Early action?

Restrictive Early Action is the an early round in application process which every Highschool student must be aware of.Read it out more in this article.

Updated by Viswathika on 27th February 2020

Last year of High School becomes a miserable one if you are unaware of the college application process. One thing that you frequently hear is 'Restricted early actions'.

In this article, we will see what is restricted early action, when to apply it, which colleges accept it, merits and demerits of opting it. 


What is Restrictive Early Action?

Restrictive Early Action also referred to as single-choice early action. As the name suggests, it is one of the early rounds where you can apply to any one of your highly preferred private institutions.

You are obliged to sign a statement, stating that you have filled only one early application in your early round.


Is this action binding?

There are basically two types in the selection process

  • Binding

  • Non-binding

Binding is the process where a candidate cannot reject the college offer if selected through their admission process. That means if you are selected through early action, then you cannot change your decision thereafter. You have no other go than attending that college.

Whereas non-binding allows an application to decide to get into the university or not. A candidate is also allowed to revert his decision during their admission process.

Restrictive Early Action is a Non-binding process, you can either accept or decline the offer.


Do all schools offer this?

No, not all schools offer you single-choice early action a. only a hand full of them do it. This college list includes the following - 

  • Boston College

  • Georgetown University

  • Harvard University

  • Princeton University

  • Stanford University

  • University of Notre Dame 

  • Yale University.

Every college has its own policies regarding restrictive early action. Visit their official website or talk to their admission officer to get to know the process and policies.


When should I apply?

As this is one of the early rounds, you should apply for it in the first week of November for which the results will be out by the end of December. The results can be the following

  1. Selected - You can accept the offer, any time before May 1.

  2. Rejected - You don't meet the eligibility criteria for college admission.

  3. Deferral of Decision until Regular Decision. You are under the waiting list and moved on to the regular decision process.


How many colleges can I apply?

You can apply to only one private institution during this early round but can apply to other colleges with non-binding admission process including:

  • Public colleges (early registered, non-binding)

  • Foreign non-binding institutions


What is the rate of acceptance in this process?

Applying in the early round, do not increase your acceptance rate in most of the cases. But, due to the less pool of competition, your acceptance rate increases if you are competent. Unless you are a strong player, there is no way this can help you fetch a seat in your dream college.


Pros and Cons of Restrictive Early Action

This action is very good if you are a more deserving student. As this process completes very early and the results come out soon, you have lots of time to plan your college life and your educational goals. You can also start searching for loans and scholarships as your seat is confirmed.

Your acceptance rate is also a little higher, as you prefer that college as your highest priority. Lesser will be the competition, so there is little shove up in your acceptance rate.


As this is an early-round, you should submit your college application and essay before November 1st week. Due to this, you have limited time to prepare a convincing essay. Try your best in preparing a persuasive letter with an essay.

If the result is not in favor of you, do not get depressed. Try applying for other colleges.

People applying for Restrictive Early Action is less, but they are very competitive and strong. Improve yourself and keep yourself on par with them.


What if I don't make it in Restrictive Early Action?

If you are not selected in your dream college through this process, don't worry, you still have another chance to try in the regular decision process.

Improving your GPA and Standardized test score is what you'll have to do.

During this whole process of the college application, deadlines are very important. Maintain a separately noted calendar with all important dates marked in it to keep a check on what's coming next.

Keep going until you achieve your goals, giving up on things takes you nowhere.