Some schools also have a second early decision deadline, ED II, which is also binding. The difference is in the timelines. ED II deadlines are usually in January, Chu says. ED II admissions decisions often come out in February.

Early action is another type of application deadline that tends to be in November or December. Similar to early decision, students who apply via early action will hear back from schools sooner. The difference is EA acceptances aren’t binding.

Students can also choose to apply by a school’s regular decision deadline, which can be as early as Nov. 30 at certain colleges but is typically Jan. 1. Students who apply regular decision generally hear back from schools in mid-to-late March or early April.