Is Early Decision the Right Decision?

Early decision… to do it or not to do it.  For all you rising seniors (or forward-thinking juniors) out there, the prospect of applying to college through the Early Decision route can be truly daunting.  We’re here to help you sort out your feelings about the ED process and to clarify the pros and cons of taking the early way out.

Photo Provided by Anna Tselevich

Photo Provided by Anna Tselevich

For those of you who don’t yet know, Early Decision is a process to apply for college in which you apply early (most of the time apps are due November 1st), but there’s a catch. The catch is that you can only apply one ED school – because if you are accepted, it’s binding.  You must go.

Now, not all schools have an Early Decision option. Some have various forms of early action and regular decision, so make sure you know which schools on your list offer it and which don’t.

The main positive to applying early decision is that (most of the time) the school’s acceptance rate increases during the early round.  This happens for several reasons.  First, colleges and universities in the United States often estimate your amount of interest in the school to predict if you will choose them later.  They want to produce a high rate of matriculation, meaning they want a high percentage of students that are accepted to enroll.  Applying ED shows that their college is your first choice, the ultimate expression of interest in a school.  Also, some people think that admissions officers reading your early decision application are less tired of the whole process, so they tend to be more subconsciously lenient.  Often, schools will tell you that the increase in acceptance is due to the fact that the Early Decision application pool is simply more competitive, but that’s not always completely true. So keep that in mind.

The thing is – you have to be sure about the school you apply ED to because once you get in (which we hope you will!), there’s no going back.  Applying early means, of course, that your application has to be done early and that you have all the grades and items that you want on it before November 1st.  Don’t apply ED to a school simply because it’s the hardest to get into.  You may regret that later.

We highly recommend Early Decision if you’re doing it for the right reasons.  Getting in early to your first choice will take a huge weight off your shoulders; senior year will be a breeze from there on out!