Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Considering Applying for College EA / ED

Ask yourself these questions before applying early action or early decision.

Flickr user Helga Weber

It’s nearly that time! Deadlines are quickly approaching for early action and early decision application programs for colleges and universities. Are you considering applying early action or early decision? There are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you do.

Are You Absolutely Sure This is the School for You?

Obviously, if you are considering applying to early action or early decision, you’re fairly sure this is the school you want to attend. But are you absolutely sure? How does it compare against other schools on your list? Is it just your most desirable, but you like other colleges or your absolute dream school and no other comes close?

Colleges and universities consider early decision binding. If you’re accepted, you have to attend the following fall. Keep this in mind and don’t apply lighthearted. The schools only release you from the agreement if you prove you can’t afford the tuition. Early action, however, is not as binding.

If this school came on your radar recently or you’ve tended to flip flop on the college you want to attend, you may want to wait until regular admission. If it’s your dream school and you don’t want to attend another, you’ll definitely want to ask yourself more questions to see if early action or early decision is right for you.

Is There an Advantage to Applying Early?

When you apply to early action or early decision, you are potentially showing the school that this is your must-go-to college and you’re motivated to attend. Some schools take this into account and will actually have a higher acceptance rate for early action or decision applications.

However, this isn’t the case with all schools. Make sure to do your research before sending in the application to find out how your potential college reviews early action and early decision applicants. Don’t assume this point as not all schools approach acceptance the same.

Will Your Application Be Ready?

Applying for early action or early decision means handing in that application months earlier than other students. This requires you to get all the documents and information together now before your senior year really kicks off. How does it look right now, a year before you attend college?

When you take this glance at your application, think about the next few months. Will your grades change or improve, giving you an edge? Consider internships, volunteer work, jobs, and more. What will your application be missing over the next few months if you handed it in for early action or early decision?

If there is something that will really give you an edge around the middle of your senior year, you may end up wanting to wait for regular admission.

Applying early to college is absolutely up to you, but make sure to ask yourself these questions and look at it from all angles before you make your final decision. You may find it’s better off to wait or that there is no better time than now. If you do decide to apply, don’t make that decision last minute. Take time to craft and hone your application and understand all contracts you agree to if you apply.

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