What are the pros and cons of early decision?

How Does Early Decision Work?

Early decision is an option that many colleges offer to students that allows them to complete their college applications early in September of their junior year in high school. This means that the student will know if he or she has been accepted quite early and will have no worries about college for the rest of his or her senior year. There is a catch to this, however. Early decision is a binding agreement. This means that if you choose to apply early and the college accepts you, you have agreed to go to that school. If this is your dream school, then that is great; you’ve got your acceptance and you’re done. If you change your mind, however, you are now stuck. So, is early decision a good choice for you?

The Pros

If you have a dream college and you are really sure that this college is absolutely the one that you want, early decision may help you. For one thing, you will be competing against a smaller number of applicants to get into the school. The majority of people applying will send their applications in much later, so the acceptance rate may be slightly higher for students that chose early decision. Second, even if you are not accepted as an early decision student, you will still be considered for regular application, so you will not have completely lost your chance to try to get into the school.

The Cons

Early decision is binding. If you get accepted to that college then you must attend it or lose a very large deposit. So, if you suddenly change your mind during your senior year, you could be stuck. Also, you can only opt for early decision with one school. Next, if you are accepted for early decision, then you must attend even though you do not know what kind of financial aid you can expect to receive from the school. By applying for early decision, you are telling the college that you really want to go to that school and no other school, so the college may assume that you will find a way to pay tuition on your own. So, if you are going to use this option, make sure that you are certain about your choice of school!

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