Differences Between EA vs. REA vs. ED vs. RD

As August 1st has passed and students have started to work on their college applications, it’s the perfect time to discuss the difference between EA (Early Action), REA (Restricted Early Action), ED (Early Decision), and RD (Regular Decision). These acronyms can be especially confusing or complex for many students, especially those that are already stressed. Thus, in this short blog, we will go over what they actually are.

Early Action (EA)

Early Action has an earlier deadline (and therefore also earlier results) and is non-binding, meaning students who get accepted do not have to commit to the college. Students can apply to multiple schools for EA. 

Restricted Early Action (REA/SCEA)

Restricted Early Action, sometimes known as Single Choice Early Action, means that students can only apply to one university REA, and no other early round private colleges/universities. This means if you apply REA to one school, you cannot apply ED/EA/REA to any other private school. However, you can still apply EA to public colleges/universities. You can still apply RD to other schools, public or private. While this is the case for most schools, do keep in mind that each school may have their own requirements or conditions, so it is best to look at each school’s admission policies, and what you can apply to.

Early Decision (ED)

Early Decision, like EA and REA, has an earlier deadline, but unlike EA, is binding. This means that you can only apply to one ED school, and if you get accepted into that school, then you must attend it. Some schools offer ED II, which means that you can technically apply to two schools ED, one ED I and the other ED II. Be sure to check each school’s policies on this matter. 

Regular Decision (RD)

Regular Decision is considered the normal process of college admissions, and is non-binding. You can apply to multiple schools under RD, and there are no restrictions. 


  • Early Action: November 2021

  • Early Decision: November 2021

  • Restricted Early Action: November 2021

  • Regular Decision: January/February 2022

For more information about the Common App, be sure to check out this blog.

Differences Between EA vs. REA vs. ED vs. RD
7EDU Impact Academy 9 August, 2021
Share this post
When Should You Start Planning for The Ivies?