What Are Early Decision and Early Action Applications?
It’s deadline time for early decision applications to college. Early decision is a college admissions process in which high schools students send their application to their preferred college early in the admissions cycle and receive a decision from the college by December. If you know without question which college you want to attend, the early decision process might be for you.
Consider these additional benefits of an early decision application:
Students accepted through early decision can stop stressing about getting into college well before their peers who apply through the traditional process. You'll be free to focus on other things for the rest of senior year.
Improve Your Odds
Keep in mind the school’s standards and the overall strength of your application are important factors in whether you get accepted, regardless if you choose early decision or apply later in the application cycle. However, if you apply early you may have a better chance of getting into your college of choice. Typically, early admission rates are higher than regular or overall admission rates for most schools. At some schools, the admission rate can be substantially better for early admission candidates. In fact, of the students who applied early to the University of Pennsylvania, nearly 25 percent were accepted, compared to only nine percent who were admitted through the regular application process.
Currently, about 450 colleges offer some sort of early admission program so chances are you're interested in at least one that offers it.
Time to Explore Other Options
There’s no doubt you’ll be disappointed if you don’t get accepted into your top-choice school. But the good news is you’ll be left with plenty of time to apply to other schools or explore additional academic or career options. Before you send in early decision applications, it’s a good idea to create an action plan that outlines what you’ll do if you don’t get in. That way you won’t waste any time getting back on track should you be denied or deferred.
You Can Get Familiar With Your School
You'll need to keep focused on finishing up your high school degree, but one of the most exciting aspects of early decision is that you can start getting acquainted with your college months before you arrive. Whether it’s through social media, a summer internship or an informal chat session with other incoming freshmen, you can start to feel like you fit in long before you step on campus.
Figure out what clubs, sports, and special events your college offers and which ones you might want to take part in. You may even have the chance to chat with upperclassman and ask them questions about campus life.
In addition to having more time to get familiar with your school, early admission could improve your chances of landing premium student housing and the most desired on-campus job. Finally, when it comes time to create your class schedule, you may have a better chance of getting the classes you want at the times that suit you best.
Take Note - Review Early Decision Policies Beforehand
If you know where you want to go to school and you're ready to apply early, go for it! But keep in mind early decision applications differ from other accelerated admissions processes because they're binding. That means you must enroll in that school if you’re accepted. However, early decision policies vary from school and school, so you need to find out exactly what you’re agreeing to before you finish your application.