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Articles / Applying to College / Can I Switch to Regular Decision After Applying Early Decision?

Oct. 5, 2018

Can I Switch to Regular Decision After Applying Early Decision?

Can I Switch to Regular Decision After Applying Early Decision?
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I submitted an application for binding Early Decision. I know the only way out of it is if the financial aid package doesn't suit me, but I already marked on the application that I don't need financial aid. I have done a lot of thinking and the closer it gets to notification time, the more I know I do not want to go to that school. My father went there and I liked it when I visited, but I have found other schools that are better for me. Do I call the school and ask them to switch me to the Regular Decision pool? Is that possible? Or is it too late and now I'm stuck going there if I get in?

No sweat ... you haven't sealed your fate. In fact, an Early Decision candidate can usually switch into the Regular Decision pool practically right up to the day the admission decisions are finalized. But if you're certain that you don't want to make a binding commitment to this college (and it does indeed sound like you are), then you should move to RD right away. However, instead of a phone call, send your update via email so that you'll have a written record of the exchange. If you don't receive a reply within a week or so, follow up with a phone call. In addition, because your guidance counselor is also required to submit an Early Decision confirmation form, you should speak with him or her immediately. If your counselor hasn't yet submitted this form, you can stop it. And if it has been sent already, ask your counselor to notify the college that it's no longer valid.


So you don't need to worry about getting stuck at a school that feels wrong to you, and you might even consider withdrawing your application entirely. But, because you did like this place initially and since you may get some grief from Dad for bailing on his alma mater, then RD is probably the right route for you.

Finally, should you decide several months from now that you actually do want to go to this college after all, you should recognize that your ED withdrawal may signal to admission officials that you're lukewarm about enrolling and perhaps only applying to mollify your father. If you're not a strong candidate, that could hurt your acceptance odds. So if your enthusiasm for this school surges again, make some contact with your regional admissions rep to be sure that you convey your genuine interest.

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Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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