What to do After Applying to College Early Decision or Early Action

The period between the November 1st early action (EA) and early decision (ED) deadlines and the next common deadline of January 1st can be a mix of relief and uncertainty for many students. While the intense focus on completing applications has subsided, there’s often a lingering question: “Now what?”

During this seemingly quiet time, there are several important steps students can take:

Confirm Receipt of Application Materials

Resist the urge to bombard the admissions office with inquiries immediately after the deadline. Instead, check your email regularly, including spam folders, for a confirmation email. If you haven’t received one within a couple of weeks, it’s appropriate to send a polite follow-up email to inquire about the status of your application.

By taking proactive steps like this, students can maintain a sense of control and stay engaged in the admissions process during this transitional period.

Also see How to Write a SAP Appeal Letter A Step-by-Step Guide (With Sample)

Schedule interviews

Different schools have varying interview options, including on-campus interviews, off-campus alumni interviews, and Zoom interviews. Check the admissions website of the schools you’ve applied to for their specific interview policies. Some schools may require you to wait for an invitation from the admissions office, while others may expect you to initiate contact to schedule an interview. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out to the admissions office via email for clarification.

Remember to prepare thoroughly for the interview, especially if it’s evaluative rather than informational.

Continue Working on Apps and Essays

Just like a marathon runner, pacing yourself during the fall and early winter months is crucial. While submitting your early decision (ED) or early action (EA) application is a significant accomplishment, there’s still more work to be done in the college application process. Fortunately, completing your ED or EA application means you’ve already polished your main essay and entered your demographic information, which can be reused for future applications through the Common or Coalition App.

However, don’t let this lull you into complacency. Many selective schools have extensive supplemental sections that may catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. You’ll likely encounter “Why this College?” essays for each school you apply to in the regular cycle. Personalizing each essay takes time, especially if you’re applying to multiple schools. Getting a head start on these supplemental essays in November and December can save you from a stressful New Year’s Eve spent rushing to complete them at the last minute.

Also see Should I Complete Optional College Essays?


The period between the early application deadlines and the next round of deadlines in January may feel like a lull, but it’s actually a valuable time to continue making progress on your college applications. By confirming that your application materials have been received, scheduling interviews, and continuing to work on supplemental essays, you’ll stay on track and avoid last-minute stress. Remember, pacing yourself and staying organized are key to successfully navigating the college application process. Keep up the momentum, and you’ll be well-positioned for success as you move forward in your college journey.