According to collegeboard.com, about 450 U.S. colleges and universities have so-called “Early Admission,” which has an earlier application deadline than the normal one. For example, the normal application deadline for California Institute of Technology (or Caltech) is January 3, 2016 for fall entry in 2016. However, the Early Action Deadline for their first-year applicants is November 1, 2015.
If you want to secure some scholarships from any top school you are applying, you may take a closer look at its Early Admission (EA), Early Action (EA) or Early Deadline (ED). Overall, you could enhance your chance of obtaining a scholarship if you hand in all the application materials before the EA deadline.
So if you have strong TOEFL and SAT/ACT or other test scores, GPA, recommendation letters, and other solid conditions to support your application, you should go ahead and give EA or ED a try. Please keep track of the EA deadlines of schools at your interest and apply to the colleges or universities before your opportunity slip away.