Is Early Decision for You?

early decisionHow does this sound for an amazing college application story?  You choose the college of your dreams, the place that you know is just perfect for you.  You apply early decision, swearing your allegiance to this school above all others.  They choose you (yay!), letting you in by sometime this December months before your stressed out friends can even hope of getting a lovely slim acceptance letter of their own.  You float through the rest of your senior year wearing your new school’s hoodie.

For thousands of prospective college students each year this  day dream is a reality, but is it right for you?

Yeah, early decision sounds great.  One application, less stress, less fees and you know pretty darn early if you’re in.  But here’s a few things to think about before you make this decision too early.

  • No Second Guessing. You need to be 100% sure that this is the college or university for you.  Most colleges demand you attend if accepted and if the college has offered you an adequate financial aid package.  You may apply to other schools through the regular admission process, but once you’re accepted by your first choice, then all other applications must be withdrawn.  So if you’re going early, experts recommend you have visited the school and feel that it is truly the right fit.
  • Early is Now. Most early decision plans require you to complete your application in November, months earlier than the usual route.  So if you think you want to go early decision, stop reading this blog and go start on that application. Like right now.
  • Comparison Shopping. If you want to compare several colleges and the different financial aid packages they offer, then early decision is not the best choice.  You may want to consider an early action plan instead which usually allows you to apply early, but not commit to the college until the spring.
  • Wait it Out. If your applications will be considerably stronger with your senior year courses and grades, then you may want to go the standard route also referred to as regular decision plans.

No matter what you decide it’s important to have a game plan.  We recommend taking a look at College Board which has excellent timelines and advice around the college application process for you and your parents.

Are you applying early decision this year?  Tell us about it!

–          Jennifer Kohn, VP of Corporate Communications.  Jennifer applied early decision over 15 years ago and thankfully got in because those other college applications just never seemed to get completed.

2 Responses to Is Early Decision for You?

  1. Sarah January 6, 2011 at 4:10 PM #

    I agree with Susie as well. However, I think the most important thing to stress here is the financial aid. How will the parents, or the student, fund their education and have they seriously thought about affording loan repayments after school?

    The cost of education is higher than ever before, so going to a school simply based on the price tag and the name is not a good choice. Students should also be well-versed in financial aid and what different student loan options there are. You can find to-the-point helpful financial aid advice at the University-Bound network.

    Thanks!

  2. Susie Watts November 1, 2010 at 10:45 PM #

    As an educational consultant and college planner, I do not support or encourage my students to apply early decision. For those who need financial aid, it is a bad choice because they do not know how much money they might get until April. Even then, they can’t compare financial aid offers from other schools. The binding aspect of ED is something very few students understand, Most kids are not ready to make a college decision in December and why should they have to? I think many of us in the field of college planning believe that early decision benefits the schools more than anyone.

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