Early Admissions Process

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: May 2003 Archive: Early Admissions Process
By Midnightdanzer (Midnightdanzer) on Sunday, May 11, 2003 - 03:33 pm: Edit

Just wondering, which are the best schools to apply for early decision?

(like which are the places that it really does work to one's advantage to apply early)

By Drusba (Drusba) on Sunday, May 11, 2003 - 04:22 pm: Edit

For schools that have early decision, it is always an advantage to apply ED over regular (except for schools that have a high, greater than 50%, admission rate anyway in which case early decision does not mean much). Some schools "fib" and profess it isn't an advantage (and the ones speaking will sell you the Brooklyn Bridge if you are dumb enough to buy it). The whole purpose of the program is to give the school the ability to sign up a significant portion of its class without the risk of turn downs, and if you are borderline on the list of their regular criteria, your chances of getting in are higher than if you go regular decision. Whether and to which schools you may apply ED is a personal decision. You obviously should not pick a school that you have no chance of getting in -- for example, if you are a B student with a 1000 SAT then it is not likely you will get in even early decision to a school whose middle range student is A and 1400 SAT; not impossible but likely a waste of an early decision application. But if you are in the school's range but at the lower 25% to 50% end, it may be worth a shot.

A major problem with ED is that most schools will not (and, usually because of FAFSA's need for updated information, cannot) tell you your financial aid package until much later -- after you have dutifully withdrawn all of your other applications. If it is worse than you expect, you are left with a serious problem -- although schools will usually let you out of your early decision if the financial aid offered makes its implausible for you to attend, you are stuck in a situation where you may have withdrawn all of your other school applications. In other words, early decision favors the rich, who can afford the school they choose and not worry about what the financial aid package will be.

Assuming you are in a position to be able to do early decision without worrying about that financial aid package, then there are really only two situations in which you should consider it: (a) the school is at the top of your list and you really want to go there over others (and know that in the early fall of your senior year); or (b) there are several schools all of which would be fine with you and you really don't care which one you go to as long as it is one of those (then pick one and apply ED). However, it would be wise to make the ED choice only after actually having visited the possible schools because regardless of all the positives you may hear, you may actually hate a school after spending a day on it (and yes there are many, many people who gag at an ivy once they spend a day on its campus).

By Kelly_Johnson (Kelly_Johnson) on Sunday, May 11, 2003 - 05:38 pm: Edit

Early decision is just fine as long as you make sure you totally understand how they calculate your financial aid. If your parents are divorced, and one parent is totally unwilling to contribute, then ED is probably not for you. Some schools will post a calculator on their site where, if you enter the correct information, you will find out approximately how much aid you will receive.

As for which schools it really "pays off" for, who knows. Kids that apply ED could just be really be smart and know to be safe, and that could account for more people getting in ED, but I am sure you do get looked upon more favorably if you apply ED.

There was a US News page that gave the percentage for RD and ED, but I can not locate it.

I keep of list of the percentages for colleges I am interested in, and this is the most startling: Oberlin RD: 35% ED: 75%

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