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Applying Early Decision: What you need to know

Early decision applications to college should not be taken lightly. This college admissions option is a binding contract that says applicants will attend the school to which they are applying if accepted. The only exception to this rule is the case of financial hardship. As you consider your college admissions strategy, ask yourself these questions regarding early decision:

Are you confident of the amount of research you put into this school?

If you are not very familiar with the school to which you plan to apply via early decision, you should take another month or two to really get to know the school’s environment before making such a big commitment. If, on the other hand, you’re very familiar with all the school’s offerings and you instinctively know you’ll enjoy studying there, applying via early decision would be an appropriate choice.

Are you debating between two or more schools? If yes, you should see if any of your other top schools have non-binding early action application options. That way, you buy yourself some time as you await regular decision results to learn more about the differences between your top choices. If there is one clear front-runner in your list of schools and you have reasonable chances of being accepted there, that would be an appropriate choice for applying early decision.

Will you be able to take the SAT and your SAT Subject Tests on or before the October test date? This is the last chance to take a College Board test and get the scores to colleges in time for early decision considerations.

Is your main motivation for applying early decision to “get it all over with?” Yes, college admissions are a marathon effort, but don’t use early decision as a way to rush your application materials out the door as soon as possible. Applying early decision means you are making a considerable commitment, and you should treat such applications accordingly.

Did you have a strong academic portfolio before senior year? Early decision applications are submitted before most high schools can release grades from fall semesters of applicants’ senior year. Therefore, if your GPA is depending on a strong performance your senior fall semester, wait to apply until the regular decision deadlines when your academic records are more competitive.

Contact our private college counselors today to get help with your admissions applications – 800-501-7737.