In the application planning section, the application types identifies how and when each school will accept applications. There are really 3 main application types:
Early Decision (ED) - ED is the most restrictive type of application and is offered by a subset of schools. Students are limited to submitting one and only one ED application and GuidedPath will enforce this rule. ED applications are binding, meaning if a student is accepted by the college then the student MUST agree to attend the college. ED applications have deadlines that are the earliest and most students that apply ED will know whether they are accepted and will be attending the college by December.
Within the Early Decision options, some schools will offer two rounds, called ED1 and ED2. A student can select to apply by either deadline with the primary difference being that the ED1 date will be prior to the ED2 date and the student will receive a response from the school sooner if they apply by the ED1 deadline. Usually, the ED2 date is in January or early in the calendar year.
Early Action (EA) - EA is another type of early application, but this key difference is that this one is NOT binding. The student does not need to commit to attend the college. The EA deadlines are still earlier than the regular application deadlines, so the students will be notified if they are accepted to the college earlier than with a regular application. The primary advantage of EA is that the college response is received sooner.
Similar to the multiple ED dates, Early Action also has EA1 and EA2 dates at some schools. A student can apply by either deadline with the primary difference being that the EA1 date will be prior to the EA2 date and the student will receive a response from the school sooner if they apply by the EA1 deadline.
Restrictive Early Action (REA) - REA is a newer type of application that is also called single choice early action. The key aspects of an REA application is that it is NOT binding, like EA, but that the student agrees to only apply to the one college early, either ED or EA. So, a student that applies using REA at the school cannot apply either ED or EA at any other college.
For additional information and consideration on these application types, see the College Board.