Early Decision

Early Decision

Summertime is here.

School ends in less than 5 days and so now I’m left deciding when I will apply to colleges.

Hopefully by now you’ve already figured out which schools you’re going to apply to (if you haven’t decided, this article may help). And hopefully you’ve taken a look at deadlines and know when you need to fill out your application.

But if you’re like me, there’s another factor that goes into college decisions, Early Decision vs. Regular Decision.

Regular Decision is what most people typically choose to do. You send your application out to various schools waiting for replies to see if you have been admitted. With the replies comes the schools’ financial aid packages enabling you to pick the school you want at the price you like.

Early Decision isn’t like that though. From the research I’ve done, Early Decision seems like a huge mess of fears for students like me.

Early Decision is typically for students who know their first-choice college. They’ve been to campus. They know the culture. They love the school.

They just know.

I don’t feel that in love. I really like Syracuse and their journalism school is good. I also really like Northwestern because it’s prestigious and selective and has the Medill School of Journalism. But I can’t commit to one or the other in the end.

I’m not considering Early Decision because I love any particular school. I’m considering because I’m afraid I won’t get accepted in the Regular Decision pool.

With Early Decision you are competing against fewer students for spots at that school. For me that’s a pro.

Another pro is getting admissions out of the way. I’m not good at time-management. I prefer either getting everything out of the way at the beginning of the deadline period, or waiting until the end to submit.

Early Decision allows students to find out by wintertime (usually December or January) where they will attend college. Seniors who apply Early Decision can breathe a sigh of relief while their peers frantically send off applications.

All the cons to Early Decision though are making me start to consider otherwise.

For one, I am not a romantic. All kinds of love escape me, especially love for a location or institution.

Also, I’m low-income. I don’t want my family to contribute anything for my education, so I will heavily rely on financial aid packages. It’s hard for me to imagine only applying to one place without checking out the pricing at other schools.

I know by the time senior year rolls around I will have weighed the pros and cons of Early Decision a hundred times over. By the end I hope I will have an idea of what to do.

If you know where you want to go and you know you can afford the school, then definitely apply Early Decision. Check out the school’s website, talk to admissions officers, discuss it with your family.

Go for it. I envy you.

If Early Decision interests you, check out this College Board article about the topic . To see how other Chisholm Trail students are making college decisions early, check out the article Softball Player Makes Her Choice.