The University of Rhode Island office of admissions has received around 15,000 applications this year for the early action deadline.

Out of the applicants, only around 850 students can be admitted into some of the high demand programs. “[Early action] is mandatory for especially our nursing program since we have the highest volume of applications relative to the number of spaces available,” Cynthia Bonn, dean of Admissions at URI said. “With the six-year doctorate in pharmacy, and to a lesser extent, with engineering, it is highly recommended that they apply by Dec. 1 or the students will be at a significant disadvantage.”

Students who apply by the Dec. 1 deadline will receive a decision by mid-January and need not commit to coming to URI until the standard candidates reply date on May 1. Besides planning ahead, the students have many more advantages while applying early action.

“These students will have maximum consideration for all of the merit awards, including the top awards,” Bonn said. “There is no separate scholarship application. If they do miss the early action deadline they might be considered for the smaller range of scholarships than the full range.”

The office of admissions emphasizes this message in all of the materials that are handed out to the students as well as through emails. The extensive publication of this program among prospective students, their parents and counselors have been responsible for the shift over the years to more students applying.

“We give our daily information sessions, we talk about the importance of applying for [early action], for those majors and also across the board,” Bonn said. “We push the early action deadline in our daily info sessions on campus when the team is out visiting hundreds of high schools throughout the fall and doing dozens of college fairs.”

“I learned about the early action program through the emails and the school website,” Sonika Tahiliani, a sophomore in the six-year pharmacy program, said. “Especially because I’m a Pharmacy major, I thought it was not only necessary but also convenient to apply EA, to prepare ahead for a highly demanding major.”

Prospective students must note that Early Action is different than early decision or early application. By the end of January, the students who have applied by the Dec. 1 deadline will have received all their acceptances and their financial aid awards; they can make a good decision based on their preferences and affordability, and will also have time to visit the campus in the spring if they hadn’t before.

The acceptance rate has been decreasing since 2016. This year, less than 75 percent of incoming applicants, which is around 15,000 applicants out of 23,000 in total, were accepted.

“The number has been fairly consistent although we’ve inched up every year,” Bonn said. “Though the increase has been small, we can say that every year is a record-breaking year.”

According to the URI admissions website, the merit scholarships under early action are awarded to United States residents and international students. The minimum requirements are a GPA of 3.2/4.0, a combined SAT score of 1130 or ACT of 23 and strong extracurricular involvement.