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Early Decision & Early Action FAQ

Many colleges and universities nationwide have experienced a significant increase in students applying Early Action or Early Decision. In the last decade, early applications to Colorado College have increased from fewer than 500 to above 8000. For the entering class of fall 2020, more than half our applicants chose to submit an early application and were enrolled through one of these rounds.

Colorado College is somewhat unique among highly selective colleges in that we choose to support a non-binding Early Action program as well as a binding Early Decision program, giving students greater flexibility to choose the option that is right for them. At the same time, this has resulted in a large increase in early applicants and a larger percentage of our class enrolling from an early round. Our percentage of students enrolled through Early Decision – around a third of the class, for the fall of 2020– is consistent with many of our peers.

What is the difference between Early Action and Early Decision?

Students applying Early Decision agree, if admitted, to enroll at Colorado College and to withdraw all active application and to not submit any additional applications. Hence, this is a binding agreement between the student and Colorado College.

If admitted Early Action, students have until May 1 to submit their deposits. Early Action is non-binding, and students can apply to other colleges and universities.

What are the admit rates for each round?

For the Class of 2023 (entering the fall of 2019), the overall admit rate is expected to be approximately 14%. By round, the admit rates were as follows:

Early Decision (1 and 2 combined):  27%
Early Action: 15%
Regular Action: 5%

Note:  These admit rates are a reflection of the size and the relative depth and talent of each pool.

Do Early Decision applicants receive preferential treatment in the admission process?

Our evaluation criteria will be the same for Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Action. However, the admission committee will note that Early Decision applicants have selected Colorado College as their top choice college. For students who are clearly competitive in the applicant pool, Early Decision applicants will be admitted in slightly higher percentages than Early Action applicants.  

Who should apply Early Decision 1?

Students who identify Colorado College as their top choice college prior to November 1 are encouraged to apply Early Decision 1. If admitted, students are expected to enroll and immediately withdraw all other applications.

Who should apply Early Decision 2?

Students who identify Colorado College as their top choice college after November 1 but before January 15 are encouraged to apply Early Decision 2. Furthermore, students who would be more competitive in our process after submitting fall semester grades and/or additional test scores should apply Early Decision 2. If admitted, students are expected to enroll and immediately withdraw all other applications.

Who should apply Early Action?

Students who identify Colorado College as one of their top choice colleges by November 1 should consider applying Early Action. If admitted, students still have until May 1 to compare offers and respond.

What about need-based financial aid for Early Decision and Early Action students?

Early applicants who are applying for need-based financial aid must submit all required documents on or before the admission application due date. Please see the Deadlines page for detailed information.

If students demonstrate eligibility for financial aid, they will receive an estimated award based upon current year cost of attendance with their admission decision letter. Early Decision admits will be expected to commit based on our estimated award. All students will receive a final award in March once the cost of attendance has been set for the following year.

Should I apply Early Decision if I am concerned about financial aid?

We encourage all students and parents to be informed about our admission and financial aid policies. Given that Early Decision involves a binding contract, students considering this option who are interested in applying for need-based financial aid should, before applying for admission, use our Net Price Calculator, a tool which gives students an early indication of the amounts and types of financial aid for which they might qualify. If you or your parents have concerns about affordability after reviewing these estimates and/or talking with our financial aid office, we recommend that you consider applying Early Action or Regular Decision (and not Early Decision).

What if I am admitted Early Decision but have concerns about my eligibility for financial aid?

All students who complete the required forms on time will receive a decision regarding their eligibility for financial aid. While the financial aid office is willing to discuss individual awards with a student or parent/guardian, our policy is to gather information and explain our methodology rather than to negotiate awards. If an Early Decision admit does not deposit by the candidate’s reply date (January 10 for ED 1 and February 10 for ED 2), the vice president for enrollment will make the decision to grant an extension or close out a student’s file.

Will Early Decision applicants receive preferential treatment for financial aid? 

Our financial aid methodology will remain the same for all applicants. Financial aid applicants are encouraged to check out the financial aid calculators at

What about merit scholarships?

All admitted students, including those admitted under Early Action or Early Decision 1 and 2, will be considered for merit scholarships. Early Decision or Early Action admits will not be disadvantaged in this process.

If I am not admitted under Early Action or Early Decision, will my file be reviewed at later date?

The admission committee will choose to admit, defer, or deny applicants if they choose to apply Early Action or Early Decision. Deferred applicants will be asked to opt in for further review in our Regular Action pool and will either be admitted or denied in March. Students denied admission will not be reviewed again during that application cycle. All admission decisions are final, and there is no appeal process at Colorado College.

Will Early Action or Early Decision applicants be considered for alternate entry options?

If a student has strong interest in a gap semester or gap year, they are encouraged to indicate their intent at the time they submit their application. We do make offers of admission for gap semester and gap year within each round.

The Admission Committee reserves the right to choose students for any all all entry points, regardless of an applicant's expressed interest in or or more of these programs. These include admission to Fall Semester Away, gap semester, or gap year.

What if an alternate entry admission offer doesn't suit my goals?

All Early Decision admits have the choice to accept their admission by submitting their enrollment form on or before the specified date or they may choose to decline admission. If a student declines admission, they will be released from the Early Decision agreement and their file will be closed out.

If a student is only interested in fall admission but is offered a place in Fall Semester Away, gap semester, or gap year, they may decline their offer of admission and request to be added to our waiting list. Please note that the student would be foregoing a space in the class without a guarantee of subsequent admission later on. These students are recommended to secure a deposit at another institution by May 1.

If you have questions about our Early Action or Early Decision programs, you are encouraged to call our office at 800-542-7214 to speak with an admission officer. All financial aid related questions should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.