MBA - Admissions - Apply - Early Action

Early Action

Early Action is an application round option at Darden, which is in addition to its three traditional rounds. Early Action is for those applicants most interested in the Darden School of Business who want to demonstrate their interest and make plans for the future sooner by applying in Early Action. Admissions conducts open interviews for applicants for applicants in the Early Action round.

For the Class of 2023 admissions cycle, Darden is offering an optional binding Early Action path. Applicants will choose whether to select the binding or nonbinding Early Action option in the application. If accepted, those who opt-in to fully committing to Darden will be asked to pay a nonrefundable deposit and withdraw applications from other schools. Applicants will be notified of any potential scholarship award in advance of the deposit deadline. Those admitted via this path will gain access to a host of opportunities, including networking opportunities, career resources and access to pre-matriculation learning modules to help them accelerate their MBA journey and engagement with the Darden community.

Applications for Early Action are due by 11:59 P.M. Eastern on Wednesday, 2 September 2020.


Early Action applicants have the opportunity to schedule an interview during the open interview period and do not need to wait for an invitation. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to introduce yourself to us. However, if you have not scheduled an interview by the time your application is initially reviewed, you may still receive an invitation to interview. Interviews play a critical role in our assessment of applicants and are required prior to admittance in to the program.

Early Action applicants can interview from August through the end of September on a first come, first served basis. We will continue to release new interview times throughout the open interview period, so check back frequently if you do not find a date or time that suits your schedule. Prepare to be flexible based on interview availability. To view available open interview times and schedule your interview please use our Remote Interview scheduler.

Interview times are limited, so we kindly ask that you schedule your interview only if you intend to submit a completed application by Wednesday, 2 September 2020. In order to be considered for admission, your application must be submitted and the application fee paid by the deadline. For further details on the interview process, including links to schedule your interview, please refer to our Interviews page.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is new to Early Action for the Class of 2023 admissions cycle?

    New for the Class of 2023 admissions cycle, Darden is offering an optional binding Early Action path. Applicants will choose whether to select the binding or nonbinding Early Action option in the application.

  • How is Early Action different from Rounds 1, 2 and 3?

    Applying in the Early Action round allows applicants to indicate to the Admissions committee that Darden is their first choice. Additionally, applicants are enabled to schedule their interview without waiting to be invited. Darden will host interviews for applicants who intend to apply in the Early Action round during the open interview period (August through the end of September).

    Admitted applicants will pay a larger deposit fee to secure their spot in the class.

  • Is the Early Action round binding?

    Only for those applicants who have actively selected the Early Action 'Binding Option' in the application. If accepted, those who opt-in to fully committing to Darden will be asked to pay a nonrefundable deposit and withdraw applications from other schools. Applicants will be notified of any potential scholarship award in advance of the deposit deadline. Those admitted via this path will gain access to a host of opportunities, including networking opportunities, career resources and access to pre-matriculation learning modules to help them accelerate their MBA journey and engagement with the Darden community.

    Applicants who have selected the Early Action 'Non-binding Option' are indicating to the Admissions committee that they are choosing a non-binding and unrestrictive admission plan while still expressing they are very interested in Darden, know they want to apply and wish to receive their admission decision early.

  • Do I have to pay an application fee?

    Yes. An application is not considered complete until the application fee has been paid. 

  • Do I need to complete any other portions of the application to conduct my open interview?

    Yes. To schedule an open interview, applicants must start an Early Action application, complete the 'Who are you?' page, upload their resume and provide an answer to the short-answer learning team question in the ‘More about you’ section:

    "Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you — personal, professional or both." (100 words)

  • When will I interview if I apply Early Action?

    Applicants who plan to submit their application by the Early Action deadline may schedule an open interview from August to late September. We kindly ask that you schedule your interview only if you intend to submit a completed application by Wednesday, 2 September 2020.

    Select applicants may be invited to interview following the Early Action deadline if they have not already scheduled an interview.

  • Do I have to travel to Darden Grounds for my interview?

    No. Due to the spread of COVID-19, Darden has paused on-Grounds events including interviews for the foreseeable future. Remote interviews are available via Zoom or Skype until it has been deemed safe to return to normal operations at the University of Virginia. Please visit our Interviews page for additional details on the interview process as it relates to remote interview scheduling.

  • Why is the deposit fee different?

    Given the earlier notification and the flexibility around the interview process, we require applicants offered admission in the Early Action round to pay a higher first deposit to reserve their place in the class.

  • What if I am placed on the Waitlist in the Early Action round?

    Applicants placed on the Waitlist during the Early Action round will be considered in subsequent rounds. Waitlisted applicants have the opportunity to receive feedback on their application to improve their candidacy.

  • What if I am not offered admission in the Early Action round?

    Applicants who are not offered admission in the Early Action round will not be considered in subsequent rounds. If an applicant remains interested in attending Darden, it is possible to reapply in the following year.

  • What if I wish to apply to Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM) and Darden's Early Action round?

    Applicants who apply to Darden through Early Action are eligible for Consortium membership. To be considered for Consortium membership, candidates will need to state their intention in the additional comments section of the application as well as in the interview. Those who wish to apply to additional schools through the traditional Consortium application rounds may do so as usual, but should not include Darden as one of those 6 schools.

    Darden will refer all admitted students from the Early Action round who have expressed interest in Consortium membership to the Consortium through the school-referral process. The school-referral process may include additional steps to confirm alignment with the mission and criteria for Consortium membership.

    Those who are admitted to Darden through Early Action and are granted Consortium membership will receive the same benefits as those who apply and are admitted to Darden through the traditional Consortium application including access to member-only events, recruiting opportunities, and exposure to partner companies and others in the Consortium network.

    Note that applying Early Action vs. the traditional Consortium process will not affect the candidate's prospect for consideration of full-tuition scholarships. Scholarship decisions will be released in October.

    Click here for more information about Consortium eligibility and the application process.