Early Decision: Is it the Right Decision for You?
Twitter, Facebook, really, the whole internet is buzzing with two words: early decision. Who got in, who didn’t get in, and who is still waiting to hear from their school of choice is all anyone can talk about – even our Admissions Guru has been bombarded with questions. Early decision confusion? That’s what we’re here for!
You can only choose one school in which to apply for early decision because it is a binding contract (not to be confused with early action which is non-binding). Apply by the November early decision deadline (which can vary slightly between schools) to receive “the answer” somewhere between December and January.
Even if you don’t receive early decision acceptance, most colleges and universities will defer your application, giving you a chance to gain regular decision admittance. Simply put, this deferment means that, while you still have a shot at getting into that school, you are no longer bound by the early decision contract. You should definitely apply to multiple colleges, just know that you will have to withdraw the applications to those schools if you’re accepted early decision
When considering whether or not to send in an early decision college app for a particular school, try to imagine paying for that school without any financial help. If that thought makes you uncomfortable (or just downright nervous), you should check to make sure that your application is subject to your receiving the minimum amount of financial aid you’ll need. Otherwise, you might end up getting bound to attend that school regardless of the amount of financial aid offered!
Again, this is a binding contract. Colleges and universities mean business so read that contract carefully! If you do try to walk away, you will most likely be black-listed not only at that school, but at other schools as well, which can severely hamper your future plans. Also, if you then decide to attend a different school, that school might just revoke their acceptance of you if they find out that you broke your early decision contract. Colleges value personal integrity – do you really want to take a chance at severely damaging yours?
But, if you have done the campus visit, taken the college tour, have completely fallen in love with a particular school, and know that it’s your top pick, you might want to consider early decision. Why draw out the agony of waiting if you can receive your acceptance (or not) early?
Better yet — Class of 2014 Facebook Pages are popping up daily so new students can get acquainted, network, and form friendships with one another before ever setting foot on campus (keep watch for our Class of 2014 Facebook list, coming soon!). That would go a long way in helping to calm first day jitters!
Early decision = fewer applicants. However, even with a smaller pool of college applications to wade through, the applicants tend to be pretty strong (we’re talking top of their class and super involved) so it doesn’t mean you’ll have a better chance of getting in. Early decision is a huge responsibility. It’s definitely not something to walk into blindly.
So, would you/have you/are you considering applying for early decision? Why or why not? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.