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What does early decision mean?

einnobeinnob Posts: 956Registered User Member
edited October 2009 in College Admissions
I know that early desicion is basically applying early, before the regular deadline. Why do students choose early decision, besides major interest in the college? Also when you do apply early, how do you know what school to pick, would it be where you really want to go to (like a reach school) or for other reasons? If you get accepted, do you have to go to that school (what if some poepl change their minds about it?) and if you get rejected, do you just pick another school that accepted you?
Thanks very much!
Post edited by einnob on
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Replies to: What does early decision mean?

  • ChedvaChedva Posts: 19,216Super Moderator Senior Member
    There are two types of "early" admissions: Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA). (I will not discuss "rolling admissions" here - that's a different process.)

    Early Decision is binding - if you are accepted, you are expected to withdraw all your other applications and go to that school. Early Action is not binding. You can keep your other applications active and see where else you get in before you decide.

    Students apply early for all sorts of reasons. Early Decision usually has a greater acceptance rate than regular decision, so students believe that it may be easier for them to get into the school by applying Early Decision. Students apply Early Action so that they know before the end of the year that they're going somewhere to college. Then they can relax a little, not worry about applying to other safeties, etc. It makes it much easier to face April.

    If you apply ED, you can only apply to one school ED since it's binding. You can also apply to as many schools as you wish RD, but as noted above you are expected to withdraw those applications if you get accepted. And (with a few exceptions like Boston College and Georgetown), you can also apply EA to other schools with the expectation that you'll withdraw the applications if accepted ED.

    Except for a few schools (Yale and Stanford come to mind), if you apply EA, you can apply to multiple schools EA and you can apply RD. You don't have to withdraw applications and you can decide in April where to go.

    If you need financial aid, or you are not certain that you want to go to a particular school, DO NOT apply ED. You cannot compare financial aid packages, and you will have difficulty changing your mind.
  • CoolbrezzeCoolbrezze Posts: 5,403Registered User Senior Member
    Heard just about the same of what's posted above.
  • pinkcupcake14pinkcupcake14 Posts: 546Registered User Member
    I agree with Chedva.

    I just want to add that some schools have ED1 and ED2. ED1 applications are due earlier than regular applications, as previously explained. Some schools also offer ED2, which basically means that if you either didn't apply early decision elsewhere & were accepted, were rejected early decision by a different school, or were deferred by your original school, you can apply "ED2" at this school. ED2 is binding as well, but the applications are generally due on or around the date when all other applications are due.

    I just reread this and that was really confusing. To clarify:

    Let's say you applied ED at (for argument's sake) NYU, and were rejected. Then, you visit Tufts, who hypothetically offers ED2, and realize that it is a better fit for you. You can then apply ED2 to Tufts (after receiving your ED rejection from Harvard). You'll probably hear from Tufts in March instead of May, and this is a binding decision. You would then withdraw all of your regular decision applications.

    Hope that came out somewhat clearly :)
  • roylikeswafflesroylikeswaffles Posts: 248Registered User Junior Member
    Wait, so if you apply ED you won't get any financial aid?
  • pFNMCppFNMCp Posts: 793Registered User Member
    Early Decision combines two major things: early notification and student commitment.

    Early Action is a plan that just involves the early notification without student commitment.
    Why no schools offer a plan that just involves student commitment without early notification is beyond me.
  • spunauglespunaugle Posts: 804Registered User Member
    -sigh-... the search feature is here for a reason.. but I'll bite

    ED: contract binding decision. Apply usually in late October/ early November, notified in December. If accepted you must attend unless the financial aid is not sufficient.

    EA: apply early, notified early. Not binding

    SCEA: same as EA, only if applying to an SCEA school (Yale for example) you may only apply to 1 school EA.
  • roylikeswafflesroylikeswaffles Posts: 248Registered User Junior Member
    So you are still able to receive FA when you apply ED right?
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Posts: 2,984Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, you are still able to receive financial aid when you apply ED. However, since you have to withdraw your other apps, you can't compare FA packages between schools, you are stuck with the FA package your ED school offers. If you truly can't afford the school with what they offer you, you can break the ED contract, but I have no experience with the particulars.
  • pFNMCppFNMCp Posts: 793Registered User Member
    Right.
    Chedva was just saying that since ED is binding and ED apps are due before FA packages are awarded, you can't choose a college based on the money they offer you, only on the money you think they will offer you.

    Darn, somebody beat me to it haha
  • tokenadulttokenadult Posts: 17,473Super Moderator Senior Member
    Here are the definitions of admission plans from the National Association for College Admission Counseling:

    ADMISSION ROUNDS PER NACAC

    http://www.nacacnet.org/ABOUTNACAC/POLICIES/Documents/SPGP.pdf

    Non-Restrictive Application Plans: All of these plans allow students to wait until May 1 to confirm enrollment.

    • Regular Decision is the application process in which a student submits an application to an institution by a specified date and receives a decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time. A student may apply to other institutions without restriction.

    • Rolling Admission is the application process in which an institution reviews applications as they are completed and renders admission decisions to students throughout the admission cycle. A student may apply to other institutions without restriction.

    • Early Action (EA) is the application process in which students apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular response date. Students who are admitted under Early Action are not obligated to accept the institution’s offer of admission or to submit a deposit prior to May 1. Under non-restrictive Early Action, a student may apply to other colleges. Restrictive Application Plans: These are plans that allow institutions to limit students from applying to other early plans.

    • Early Decision (ED) is the application process in which students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll. While pursuing admission under an Early Decision plan, students may apply to other institutions, but may have only one Early Decision application pending at any time. Should a student who applies for financial aid not be offered an award that makes attendance possible, the student may decline the offer of admission and be released from the Early Decision commitment. The institution must notify the applicant of the decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time after the Early Decision deadline. Usually, a nonrefundable deposit must be made well in advance of May 1. The institution will respond to an application for financial aid at or near the time of an offer of admission.

    Institutions with Early Decision plans may restrict students from applying to other early plans. Institutions will clearly articulate their specific policies in their Early Decision agreement.

    • Restrictive Early Action (REA) is the application process in which students make application to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular response date. Institutions with Restrictive Early Action plans place restrictions on student applications to other early plans. Institutions will clearly articulate these restrictions in their Early Action policies and agreements with students. Students who are admitted under Restrictive Early Action are not obligated to accept the institution’s offer of admission or to submit a deposit prior to May 1.
  • dain3265dain3265 Posts: 155Registered User Junior Member
    you can receive FA, but you will not be able to compare FA with other schools.
    However, if you can prove that you cannot afford the FA the school gave you, you can back out of the ED contract.
    But it's usually not really a good idea to apply ED if you need a lot money.
  • TarHeelBoundTarHeelBound Posts: 338Registered User Junior Member
    If you get flat out rejected ED, you can't re-apply regualar decision, correct?
  • LobzzLobzz Posts: 1,970Registered User Senior Member
    ^Most school dont allow you to. Some schools do though.
  • The LegendThe Legend Posts: 912Registered User Member
    What if you apply ED to an elite school, or a school that you know is a reach. You will go to this school for sure, if accepted, unless financial aid is minimum.
  • LobzzLobzz Posts: 1,970Registered User Senior Member
    If you cant afford it, you cant afford it. The ED agreement "releases" you.
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