Should I Submit My Application for Early Decision?

July 23, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Should I Submit My Application for Early Decision?

The difference between early decision and regular decision or even early action is that early decision requires a legally binding agreement of enrollment.

When you submit your application, you will be required to sign a contract stating that you will attend the school if you are accepted. Because signing this contract constitutes such a significant commitment on your part, you will also need to get your parent and your school counselor to put their names on it.

Because it is legally binding, you should only apply for early decision (ED) if you are completely, totally, unquestionably, and unquestionably certain that you want to attend the school. You need to have solid and definite reasons for wanting to go there, such as the high quality of the program that you want to major in (rather than the high quality of the cafeteria food).

Young woman using a laptop in a table.

Early decision applications can only be submitted to a single school (for obvious reasons).

Not only are you required to send in your deposit shortly after you are notified of your acceptance, but you are also obligated to withdraw any other applications you have made to other schools if you are granted admission here.

If you, like the vast majority of students, plan to submit an application for financial assistance, then there is a significant question that you might be asking yourself right about now. How are you able to commit to attending a school before you have even received an offer of financial assistance?

This is a valid concern, but unfortunately, the early decision won’t allow for it to be addressed.

It may be possible to negotiate with the financial aid office if your offer isn’t what you hoped it would be. Some schools claim to meet all demonstrated financial needs, and it may be possible to negotiate with them if your offer isn’t what you hoped it would be.

However, early decision usually requires you to sign the contract regardless of whether or not you will receive financial aid. So, should I submit my application for early decision?

Unfortunately, due to this condition, ED is an application choice that simply is not made available to every student. In addition to the fact that it entails a legally binding contract, you must find out what the deadlines are for making an early decision. An interesting fact, albeit one that may cause some consternation, is that not all deadlines for early decisions are, in fact, early.

When Are the Deadlines for Early Decision?

If you are considering applying to this option, you might ask “when are the deadlines for early decision?” The fall season sees the majority of early decision deadlines. The first of November is the ED deadline that is most frequently used. In most cases, you won’t hear back from the school until a month or two later, around the middle of December. You could hear back from them with one of these three options: accepted, denied, or deferred.

Using a laptop in a wooden table.

In the event that your application is deferred to the regular applicant pool, you will no longer be bound by the ED contract and will be free to apply anywhere you please (at that point, probably under regular decision deadlines). Additionally, there is a second, much later ED deadline in January that is offered by some schools.

Early Decision II is the name given to this later deadline, which is nonetheless legally binding. If you come to the conclusion that you need additional time to work on your application and decide to apply for ED II, then you will hear back from your school sometime in the month of February.

Is It A Good Idea to Apply Early Decision?

The ability to complete the college application and selection process in the shortest amount of time possible is one of the most significant potential benefits of early decision. The process of applying to colleges, waiting to hear back about admissions decisions, and selecting a college can be a source of significant stress for many students and their parents.

So, is it a good idea to apply early decision? If you submit your application for early decision, you will be able to find out which college you will be attending before the majority of your classmates have even finished filling out their applications. You can devote the remainder of your senior year to concentrating on schoolwork, participating in extracurricular activities, and having fun.

Using a laptop to apply for college.

If you limit the number of schools to which you submit an application, you reduce the likelihood of wasting both time and money. You should still get ready to submit applications to additional colleges in the event that you are not admitted, or if you are considering applying to schools that have a regular application deadline before you are notified of admissions decisions under early decision. In either case, you should be prepared to submit additional applications.

In addition, sending in your application under the early decision program at a number of different colleges can improve your odds of being accepted. The majority of colleges that offer early decision have significantly higher acceptance rates for early decision applicants than they do for regular decision applicants.

In 2015, Brown University granted admission to 20.6% of the students who applied for early decision and only 7.5% of the students who applied for regular decision.

Cornell granted admission to 39 percent of the students who applied for early decision and 16.1 percent of the students who applied regularly.

Although early decision applicants typically have higher qualifications, this does not fully explain the difference in acceptance rates between the two types of applicants.

Early decision admits increase a school’s yield, which is the percentage of admitted students who choose to attend. Colleges prefer to admit a large percentage of their incoming classes using early decision because it gives them more control over the makeup of their freshman classes. Early decision admits also increase the number of students who enroll at the school. A higher graduation rate is beneficial to a school’s reputation as well as its ranking.

Can Applying Early Decision Hurt Your Chances?

You might still be wondering “should I submit my application for early decision?” Early Decision may appear to be the ideal opportunity for students who are sure that they want to attend a particular college because it gives them the chance to demonstrate their serious interest in the institution while also having to compete with a smaller pool of applicants for admission.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to applying early, which means that this timeline is not the best option for everyone. In this part, we will discuss the answer to the question “can applying early decision hurt your chances?” with the following points:

Are you absolutely certain that this college is your top option?

Have you made up your mind to attend this particular college? If you answered no, early decision is probably not something you should pursue.

If there is a specific college that you have your heart set on attending, then that provides a solid basis for exploring early decision options.

If you already have a school in mind, the next step is to determine the reasons you want to attend that school. Does the institution offer a curriculum that you are interested in studying and a setting that is suitable for you?

Two students thinking of something while leaning on a yellow wall.

Ensure that you have thoroughly investigated the academics, social scene, and culture of the school in order to determine whether or not it is the best option for you. Find out whether the opportunities that will help you develop and succeed over the next four years are available to you at the school you currently attend. Take a tour of the campus, talk to current students, teachers, or admissions officers, and try to get a good feel for what it would be like to be a student there.

It is not a good idea to submit an early decision application on a whim or because you feel pressured into doing so; these are not valid reasons to submit an application early. If you are the type of person who frequently shifts their opinion, you should pause as well.

To answer the question “when should I submit my application for early decision?” If you are certain that you want to attend that particular school if you are accepted, then you should sign an enrollment contract that is legally binding.

After you have provided an answer to this question, the next step is to consider the extent to which you are prepared to put together your application.

Are you prepared to submit your application for early decision?

If your school allows you to submit your application by the later Early Decision II deadline in January, then you do not need to be overly concerned about any potential shifts in timing.

If, on the other hand, the early decision deadline is the only one that your institution has available in November, you will want to ensure that you are well organized and prepared well before the early deadline. As I stated earlier, the submission of the strongest application you are capable of should be your highest priority.

Young woman looking at the window with a laptop on her lap.

Even if a school accepts a higher percentage of early decision (ED) applicants than regular decision (RD) applicants, applying early decision will not magically make your application appear to be more competitive. You will need to reschedule your planning a few months in the future in order to meet an earlier deadline.

For example, your final opportunity to take either the ACT or SAT will most likely fall in the months of September or October. In a perfect world, you’d have all of your test scores finalized by the time you were a senior. You would have three opportunities to test if you took it in the spring of your sophomore year, fall of your junior year, and spring of your junior year. In addition, you would have a fourth testing date in the fall of your senior year “just in case.”

If you’re trying to meet a deadline in November, make sure to give some thought to the number of test dates you want to give yourself in order to reach the scores you’ve set for yourself.

Do you have concerns regarding financial assistance?

Does the total amount of financial aid you are awarded play a significant role in where you choose to attend college, either positively or negatively?

If that is the case, making an early decision might be a challenging option.

You will not be able to compare the various financial aid offers before deciding which school to attend, unlike early action or regular decision applicants. If you want to take advantage of early decision, you have to be willing to enroll in school regardless of the amount of financial aid you are offered. If you absolutely cannot afford college tuition, you will not go to jail for breaking an early decision agreement even if you do so intentionally or unintentionally.

Nevertheless, breaching the agreement would be an extremely unlikely and unwelcome occurrence, and it is possible that other educational institutions might learn about it.

You should give some thought to this question before submitting your early decision application so that you can avoid the stressful scenario that could result from not doing so.

On the other hand, if you require financial assistance, you shouldn’t immediately assume that you won’t be able to submit an early decision application. Talk to people working in the financial aid office at the schools that interest you to find out how they handle students with demonstrated financial need.

You might be able to get a good idea of the components that will make up your financial aid package, which will enable you to continue moving forward with the legally binding agreement on the basis of this information.

Is Applying Early Decision Right for You?

There are over 400 different colleges and universities that participate in Early Decision. It is possible that you will be compelled to take advantage of it if the establishment that is at the top of your list offers one.

Now you might be contemplating, is applying early decision right for you? Early Decision is a worthwhile option for students who are certain about the college they plan to attend and the application they will submit. It’s also a great option for people who want to increase their chances of getting into the most competitive colleges.

However, students who are interested in comparing the financial aid offerings of multiple schools should not waste their money on ED.

Early Decision is typically taken up by a large number of students if it is offered by the college they are interested in attending. However, just because the higher education establishment to which you intend to apply allows students to submit applications for Early Decision status does not mean that you should submit your application before the rest of your classmates do. Make sure to check the following if you are currently considering the thought “should I submit my application for early decision?”:

  • Have done extensive research not only on the college of their choice but also on other possible educational institutions
  • Have concluded, as a result of extensive investigation, that enrolling in the Early Decision program at the college of their choice will enable them to realize their academic and professional aspirations while simultaneously satisfying their geographical and social needs.
  • Have a grade point average that is equal to or higher than the average grade point average of accepted students.
  • You have used the college’s net price calculator and are prepared to pay the price if you are accepted to the institution.

You will have a greater chance of being accepted into the school of your choice if you submit your application to that institution prior to receiving a decision from them.

You will be required to finish your application earlier than everyone else, but you will also be able to learn about the school’s admissions decision sooner, which will alleviate some of the stress that is associated with the college application process.

However, if you do get accepted, you should make sure that you are prepared to ignore offers from other educational establishments. The reason for this is that early decision is a binding process; however, if you have a compelling reason to withdraw from the program, the school may reconsider.

To answer “when should I submit my application for early decision?”, we suggest before submitting your application, you should make sure that you have read about the benefits as well as the drawbacks associated with the process.

There is no question that this is the most advantageous decision plan for you to pursue if the positives outweigh the negatives. If that is not the case, utilizing regular decision with the rest of your classmates is a much more sensible option.

If you are still interested to pursue and are still wondering “should I submit my application for early decision?”, we would be happy to help. AdmissionSight could assist you in looking through the choices in the college admissions process. Book a consultation with AdmissionSight and let us discuss the best option for you.

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