Early Decision: What you Need to Know

Molly Glus, Lifestyle Editor

You send in an application, you sign a contract.

With early decision application deadlines on November 1st, students who need an extra push are finishing their applications to hopefully be accepted to the college of their dreams. According to a Teen Vogue article with Lindsay Taane, co-founder of Logic Prep, while there are various times and categories of submitting applications, it is important students make the best decision for themselves.

According to Collegeboard, with early action, a student is simply informed of their acceptance before regular decision. The decision from an early action application is not binding, so a student is still able to apply to other schools regular decision. However, unlike early action, early decision is a binding contract. The premise is that if you are accepted to that university, you are committed to attend the following fall.

“Both the Early Decision and Early Action deadlines fall around November 1, but are distinctly different in an important way. For Early Decision, this means that this is the school. If a student is admitted, the decision is binding and they are 100% committed to attending,” said Taane.

A student, Marta, has been accepted to NYU. Students will typically receive a letter in the mail announcing either acceptance, deferral, or denial. (mt23/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Early decision begins with a student’s application being submitted by November first. Students typically hear back by mid December, when you will be either accepted, deferred, or denied.

“Students should only apply early if they believe that their application is the strongest and most accurate representation of their academic ability and strength by the November 1 deadline,” said Taane.

Taane explains that if deferred, it means the admissions officers see a lot of potential in the student’s application, but they want to see it in competition with the regular decision applicants before giving a definite response.

If students are denied early decision, they are given time to re-prepare their applications for regular decision, which is in January.

“For students who were deferred Early Decision or who are applying to a range of schools Regular Decision, strong midyear grades are essential to enhance their overall profile for consideration,” said Taane to Teen Vogue.

According to College Board, it’s important to remember students can only apply to one school early decision, but they are able to apply to other schools regular decision. If they are accepted to their early decision school, they must withdraw all other applications.

While the idea to finish an application so early in the year can be stressful, the decision to apply early decision also has its benefits. Taane explained that applying early decision is extremely beneficial if a student has their heart set on a specific school, to enhance their chances of being accepted.

“Last year, many of the nation’s top colleges drew more than 40 percent of the incoming freshmen through Early Decision,” said Taane.

Another benefit, according to Teen Vogue, is a peace of mind following the submission and possible acceptance of a student’s application. This is because if admitted, the student is finished with the college application process by the middle of December, which leaves the rest of the year to enjoy being a senior.

According to Huffington Post, applying early decision is one of the best ways for a student to display their interest in the school. Presence of how interested in a school a student is has become a larger consideration in the college application process.

Despite these benefits, students need to realize the extent of applying early decision. Huffington Post explains that if a student’s junior year grades are subpar, it would be recommended that they wait to see how their fall semester grades improve. Taane explains that if it is not a student’s number one school, it is not the best choice. However, it all comes down to what the student thinks is the best decision for themselves.

Taane left students with a final word of advice, “Students must be comfortable making a binding commitment.”