What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Applying to College Early?

Thinking about applying to college early? There are a few things you need to consider before sending in those applications under Early Action or Early Decision. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of applying to college early.

Student submitting application on a laptop.

What are the Benefits of Applying to College Early?

You Hear Back Sooner

One of the major benefits of applying to college early is the fact that you hear back sooner! If you submit your applications through Early Action or Early Decision on November 1st or 15th, you’re likely to hear back from the college by mid-December. If you’re accepted under Early Action, you don’t have to make a decision until May 1st.

You Get Your Applications Out of the Way

Another benefit to note when it comes to applying to college early is the fact that you get this major job out of the way. You have a lot to be dealing with during your senior year of high school. By completing this sooner rather than later, you can enjoy more of your year as well as your winter break. It’s definitely a weight off your shoulders.

What are the Drawbacks of Applying to College Early?

You May Be Compelled to Make a Decision Quickly

If you applied to a college using the Early Decision option, you are obligated to attend that college if you’re accepted. If you’re accepted under Early Action, you do not have to make a decision until May 1st.

However, for some students, hearing back so quickly may make them feel compelled to make a decision quickly as well, before they’ve even heard back from their regular decision schools. Parents could also be putting pressure on their kids to make a decision. It’s important to take it slow and weigh all your options – there is time to make your choice carefully.

You Could Be Overwhelmed Trying to Get Your Applications in on Time

Since early applications have an earlier due date, students are required to write their essays, gather letters of recommendations, and take their ACT or SAT a bit sooner compared to other college applicants. On top of regular schoolwork and responsibilities, this can be a lot to fit into your regular schedule. You could find yourself overwhelmed with everything you need to do.

Creating a schedule can help you prioritize your to-do list. And if you find yourself unable to complete your application by the due date, you can always apply under regular decision. Some schools even have an Early Decision II! It’s better though to have a complete, well thought out application than a rushed one that you finished under duress.

Applying early to college isn’t for everyone. Some students want more time to determine which colleges are a good fit for them or to finish their applications. If that’s the case, check out our college match tool to help you decide. However, if you know what school you want to apply to and have the time to complete your college apps, Early Action or Early Decision could be the best route for you.

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