What You Should Know About Early Decision Applications

You can get into a college early if you pick early decision applications

Flickr user Michael Coghlan

While an early decision / early action application does have its advantages, it has a few drawbacks too. Depending on your circumstances, it may not necessarily be the right choice for you. Understanding the pros and cons of early decision applications will help you decide whether this is the route you should take.

The pros and cons of early decision applications

When you submit an early decision application, you may have a higher chance of being admitted since the application pool is much smaller earlier on in the year. However, ED ties you down—if you apply ED to a school and are accepted, you have to attend that school, so be 100% certain that is the school you want to go to before applying ED. (If you still want to apply early, but don’t want to be restricted, consider applying early action (EA) instead). ED can also restrict your opportunities for financial aid.

Should you apply early?

Applying early may not be the best option for you if you are not fully committed to attending college or if you have not done thorough research into all other available options. Don’t apply early decision just because your friends are, or because you want to avoid the paperwork involved with multiple submissions, are also not the right reasons to do so.

An ED application is only recommended if you have done extensive research on your college options and you are absolutely sure that that particular institute is the best match for you on all fronts—academic, social, and geographical. No matter how much you wish to study in a particular college, you should only apply if you meet all academic and other criteria.

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