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Articles / Applying to College / ED at BC?

ED at BC?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Oct. 1, 2010

Question: Should my daughter apply Early Decision at Boston College?

This is a major life decision for your family and certainly not one that should be made by a stranger on the Internet, especially because "The Dean" knows nothing about your daughter, her academic record, her interests, or goals. However, what "The Dean" can tell you is that Boston College does not offer an "Early Decision" option. Instead, students will receive a BC verdict by Christmas if they apply via Early Action. Unlike Early Decision, which requires a binding commitment, admitted Early Action candidates have until May 1 to decide whether they will enroll. This gives them time to compare other acceptances and, perhaps, scholarship offers.

BUT ... unlike some Early Action programs, the one at Boston College is "Restrictive." EA candidates at BC cannot concurrently apply to any other college via Early Decision. (Concurrent applications via Early Action, Regular Decision, or Rolling Admissions are fine.)

One key difference between Early Action, as offered by BC, and Early Decision, which may be available at some of your daughter's other target colleges, is that Early Action will not provide a boost in admission odds. As noted above, students have until May to make a final choice, and colleges don't like to save spaces for candidates who may not ultimately matriculate. Thus, they only accept the strongest contenders from their Early Action pool in this round. Early Decision, however, is quite different. Here, because colleges do lock in their admitted applicants in December, they are more likely to take a chance on a borderline student because he or she is a "sure thing." Thus, Early Decision does typically raise the chances of acceptance ... sometimes quite significantly.

So ... when you ask if your daughter should apply early to BC, I have to ask you in return if she has another front-runner college that offers binding Early Decision. If she does, she might want to consider applying there this fall instead in order to increase her admission odds. If not, then there's no down side to aiming for EA at BC unless:

-her junior grades were not up to snuff

-she didn't get off to a strong start as a senior this fall

-she won't have completed the required testing by November 1 or she has taken the tests but hopes to improve her scores

I realize that this process is confusing and requires many tough choices. I wish you and your daughter well as you make this one.

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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