Early Decision is a way to get with the college application process a little bit earlier. Early decision is a binding contract. It means that if you get accepted by that specific college which you ED’d you will have to accept their offer and reject the others. You may only use ED once but use it in the school you want to go to the most.
The 4 things which you must know before applying to an Early Decision application are:
You have limited option
Applying to one school is having to commit to and attend that school if you are accepted during ED, forgoing other opportunities. You are going there for the next few years. There are no ifs and buts. There is no chance for any second thoughts if you have any opportunities from other great schools. So it is better to be damn sure if you want to go there.
You have a better chance of getting selected for the admission
Applying ED shows the college that you are fully committed to them and it helps you put your best feet forward. This means if you are absolutely certain where you want to go and you are admitted under early decision, you’ll have your answer by the end of December and then you are set for the rest of your senior year. There will be no rush to get applications and documents in and also there is no stress waiting to hear from colleges as your senior year winds up. You will be able to focus on the remainder of your senior year, on completing your studies.
You can be stuck with the financial aid package
The financial side of it is one of the drawbacks. With the choice of ED, you won’t be able to compare the financial packages from several schools and choose the most affordable school for you. There is no chance for negotiation. Same school, same FAFSA, same total cost might have completely different financial offers. The school knows you are committed to it and even if you could get any better financial aid offer at another school, it really does not matter. Thus keep it in mind when you plan your applications.
You might be interested to know more about Financial Aid
ED 1 and ED 2
The Common App sometimes gives you a hard time. It is because they don’t know whether you have received your admissions decisions yet. Some colleges offer ED 1 as well as ED 2. With ED 2, you can get the same advantage as you do with the ED 1 admission process that is without rushing for completion of the application. But keep in mind that ED 2 is also a binding college meaning if they admit you, you commit to attend there.
Things change and options are wonderful open doors that you always want the opportunity to walk through. You cannot be physically dragged by the school to its campus if you don’t want to enroll, and they won’t pursue you legally, but they can let other schools know that you broke an ED contract and it could affect your other applications. Although you can be excused from attending your ED if you can’t financially make it work, that’s pretty much the only way to avoid repercussions for deciding not to attend an ED that selects you. Having a binding contract is not a problem if it is your dream school and you are absolutely ready to commit. So take ED seriously and if you are still unsure of the different top choices of attending a school, then don’t apply ED.