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Restrictive Early Action

Consider if Early Action is Right for You

Applying to Harvard under the Restrictive Early Action program empowers you to make a college choice early. Early applicants apply by the November 1 deadline and hear from us by mid-December.

Early Action is a non-binding early program, meaning that if you are admitted you are not obligated to enroll. If you apply to Harvard under our Early Action program, you may also apply at the same time to any public college/university or to foreign universities but you are restricted from applying to other private universities’ Early Action and Early Decision programs.

You have the flexibility and freedom to apply to other institutions during the regular decision round, and you have until May 1 to compare your admission and financial aid offers. We require that you apply only to Harvard College during the Early Action round. (See the frequently asked questions below for policy clarification.)

Harvard does not offer an advantage to students who apply early. Higher Early Action acceptance rates reflect the remarkable strength of Early Action pools. For any individual student, the final decision will be the same whether the student applies Early Action or Regular Decision.

Considering if you should apply Early Action or Regular Decision

Regular Decision offers important practical advantages in the later application deadline (January 1). You will have more time to complete the application components—more time for you to edit and proofread your portions of the application and more time for your teachers and counselors to become familiar with you before they write on your behalf. You may also want to consider whether your application would be strengthened by senior year extracurricular achievements or improved academic performance.

If your record and accomplishments have been consistently strong over time, Early Action may be an attractive choice. You don’t have to commit to coming to Harvard, but you will learn earlier if it is an option for you.

Answering your policy questions

Applying to Harvard

Early Action

Facts About Financial Aid


Amount that parents making less than $65,000 are expected to contribute.

Ninety percent of American families would pay the same or less to send their children to Harvard as they would a state school.


Get step-by-step tips for completing your application.