Kevin Park, staff writer
You might have seen some excited seniors who have been already admitted to college. If you are a future applicant and jealous of the luxury of relief that those students are enjoying now, you might want to consider applying early decision and action programs. Here are some stories and advices from counselor and those senior students.
Early decision and action are programs designed to accelerate college application process for those who are committed to attend their first choice school.
One advantage is that you can get the admission result back as early as December. Although early decision and action share some similarities such as a typical Nov. 1 deadline, early decision has more restrictive obligations, such as requiring students to withdraw any other applications once accepted to the school that you applied for early decision.
On the other hand, early action is less restricted, only requiring the Nov.1 deadline, compared to the typical Jan. 1 deadline for regular decision, and announcing results much sooner than regular decision.
“Students should consider applying Early Decision if they have a first choice college or university that they really want to go to. Early Decision is binding so is a student is accepted, she or he is expected to attend. Early Action is encouraged to students who want to apply early to colleges that they are really considering if they are admitted,” Head Counselor Diane Hale said.
One of the biggest advantages of early decision and action is that students can be relieved from anxiety that they might have until March or April when regular admission results are usually announced.
“Applying early will provide you with less stress as the year goes on. Since I applied to University of Michigan early action, I could be relieved from feeling anxious, waiting for the result until March or April, which didn’t seem ideal to me. By applying early, I could know the result in early December, and now I do not have to worry about college application process anymore. My advice for future applicants is to pace themselves. It is no fun writing pages of essays in one night. ” senior Matthew Dubin (who was already admitted to the University of Michigan) said.
Another advantage of early decision and action is that it might increase your chance of admission by showing your commitment and passion to your first choice school.
“I really wanted to go to Boston University after I did a summer program there before junior year. I took a two-week-course class that I wanted to study which Boston University has a great reputation for. By applying early application, I could show the admission my commitment that I really want to go to Boston University over any other schools, which helped my chance of admission. The only advice I could give is not to wait until the last minute. Enjoy your summer, but also start brainstorming some ideas for college essays and get everything organized for when it comes to input all sorts of information,” senior Maddie Steinberg (who was already admitted to the Boston University) said.
Applying early decision, however, may have some unwanted disadvantages.
First, it prevents you from comparing scholarships or financial aid that colleges could provide you. In other words, even if you do not get any scholarships or financial aid from your first choice, you still have to attend.
“Financial consideration should be factored into this decision since not all Early Decision colleges/universities provide scholarships or adequate financial aid,” Hale said.
Early decision also requires students to deposit the first year tuition as early as three weeks after receiving the notification, which might cause a hassle for students and their family.
If you are not able to meet meet these requirements, you might rather want to consider early action or just regular decision, which are less restricted.
Although early decision and action may have some drawbacks, it can definitely make your senior year much less stressful and accelerate admission process to your dream school. If you feel comfortable taking advantage of early decision and action, make sure to do your research to find a school that you are committed to, passionate about, and willing to attend.