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Early Decision - Why Apply Early?


Independent counseling about your early decision and early action applications can help get your applications off to a fast start.

 

Who benefits from applying under each of these Early Programs?

First, all students whose academic records are unlikely to improve in their senior year and who are happy with their board scores should seriously consider applying early.  It will clarify how well your strategy fits your academic record and can materially improve your odds. 


  • Early Decision
    • Students with one or two clear first choice schools who are willing to make a binding commitment to attend by January 1.

    • Legacy candidates.  Today, colleges try to balance their desire to continue the involvement of their most loyal alumni families with increasing political scrutiny of how well they maintain access to all applicants. Applicants with a family connection to the institution can demonstrate their desire to maintain that tradition by applying early and accepting a binding offer.

    • Students whose families don't worry about financial aid eligibility.  That is, students with strong academic records whose family contributions will clearly be small under any circumstances OR  student from families who are not applying for financial aid. Unfortunately, there's lots of anecdotal evidence that many colleges are more generous with financial aid to students who have been accepted in later non-binding admission rounds. CollegeLab is very reluctant to endorse Early Decision to families whose college costs could be substantially different at different schools and who want to maintain their ability to negotiate a financial aid package. For most applicants. there's not enough improvement in the odds of admission under Early Decision to justify being stuck with a bad financial aid package.

    • If Early Decision had been an arrangement that had equal benefits for students and colleges, then no one would have created or souhgt out Early Action programs.

  • Early Action
    • Students who want to know early which schools or types of schools will be most receptive to their applications and who want to use that feedback to alter their strategy for regular season applications.

  • Single Action Early Action
    • If you are an exceptionally strong applicant, for example, and you're willing to forego applying early anywhere else, there is simply no more reliable way to apply.  In the 2003-2004 applicant pool, Harvard, for example, accepted 23.3% of its Early Action applicants; but only 7.1% of its regular applicants.  Many people say it's remarkable that Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford now accept only 1 applicant in 10.  Very few observers notice the impact of early applications at those and other very competitive schools.  Harvard, for example again, accepted roughly 1 in 4 early applicants.  That means that in the regular season, Harvard could accept only 1 in 14 regular applicants!  Note the early applicants to these schools are then free to apply anywhere else they want in the regular application season and respond to their early action school by May 1.

  • Rolling Decision 
    • Students who want to take advantage of all the resources of a large state university and in-state tuition.

    • Students for whom a state college is an appealing safety school and who want to have a "safety" acceptance early in the process.

 


Could you use some help with these early admissions decisions? 

Call CollegeLab at 866-377-6895 or

e-mail us to set up a free consultation.


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