Can an Early Decision Candidate Apply Elsewhere Via Early Action?
Question: I am applying Early DECISION to Rice. Can I apply Early ACTION to other colleges?
College admission regulations can be confusing indeed, especially when it come to early-application options. In most cases, however, early decision candidates are free to apply to other colleges via NON-BINDING admission plans, which include early ACTION. But you're right to be concerned--as well as confused--because not all colleges follow this protocol.
At Rice you CAN apply elsewhere while you await your ED verdict, as long as you're not applying to other Early DECISION schools. You also have to be aware that, if you are admitted ED to Rice as well as to your EA schools, then you are obligated to enroll at Rice. (However, if you are a financial aid applicant, and you are admitted to Rice but do not receive adequate financial aid, then you CAN withdraw from your ED commitment. But, to do so ethically, the Rice aid package must be truly insufficient, and not simply less attractive than you'd hoped--or than what some EA school has offered.)
If you are deferred ED at Rice, then, of course, you are free to apply elsewhere, including under some other college's Early Decision Round 2 option. You are also free to enroll where you wish, even if Rice does eventually admit you.
Hope that helps. Good luck navigating the college maze!