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The fallacy of the ED arguement

CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
It seems that I have read quite a bit about how unfair ED is to low and middle income applicants. I find that these arguments don't hold a lot of water with me. For example:

Applicant applies ED to Vanderbilt and is subsequently accepted, before making a choice to accept the admittance to Vanderbilt, the college will send the applicant their FA package. Based on the FA package the applicant can either choose to attend or reject the university. This will be done before any RD admits are announced at other private colleges, both in the case of ED1 and 2. The applicant has a choice to make, can they pay whatever is left after FA or not, if not, they are left in basically the same position if they had applied RD to every college (with the exception that Vanderbilt is eliminated). Now the applicant has to wait on RD decisions from all other colleges, and admits at that point and the applicant can compare FA packages and possibly negotiate FA based on other admittances.

While I understand that the leverage moves away from the applicant in the case of the ED admit, it doesn't make it "unfair" IMO. Having said that I always would like the leverage on my side but that is what you give up in an ED admission. Again if the applicant doesn't feel the FA package is good enough then they still have the option of negotiating (albeit not very likely to get any more with no other admittances to compare against, but if they are a very desirable applicant it is not impossible), and they still have the ultimate veto power of rejecting the college and waiting for the RD round. Finally, for very low income students, all of the top colleges are going to grant almost all of the applicants need minus some summer work/work study.
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Replies to: The fallacy of the ED arguement

  • KKmamaKKmama Registered User Posts: 2,760 Senior Member
    However, say the student gets a barely affordable offer from the ED school. S/he does not get to compare that offer with ones from other schools.

    My kid was not ED. Her first choice school did not offer her great assistance but she could have paid for it using some private loans. Her second choice school gave her an amazing offer that did not necessitate needing any federal loans, much less private ones as well. Had she applied to her first choice ED she would never have had the better offer. Which she accepted, of course.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,714 Senior Member
    It's all about getting a chance to compare (which they don't get with ED) while still being able to apply when chances are more favorable (which they don't get with RD).

    "Finally, for very low income students, all of the top colleges are going to grant almost all of the applicants need minus some summer work/work study."

    That is only true for a few dozen of the most selective schools, so it doesn't help the majority of students.

    Colleges offer early decision rounds for their own benefits. For some students - full pays for example - it can be a win/win scenario, but not for all.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    Yes I do agree that you give up leverage (which we all want to have) but I disagree with the assessment that it is unethical/unfair/totally to the colleges benefit. It is a trade off, the college gets something and you get something. If only one side gets something out of the deal, that makes it unfair, and yes for a full pay it is a win/win (for both the college and the applicant, as the student gets a bump and the college gets a full pay student).

    @doschicos I didn't make myself clear but I was only talking about those schools that meet full financial need. I wouldn't recommend anyone apply ED to a school that doesn't.

    @KKmama She could have applied ED to the first school (assuming they offered it) and subsequently rejected it, however I agree that is a tough call.

    Finally applying ED means that this is your first choice and is where you really want to be. Albeit in the case of ED2 it might be a close second.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,714 Senior Member
    "I was only talking about those schools that meet full financial need"

    Many schools at the tippiest top don't do ED but some version of EA or SCEA. So, if you remove those yet limit it to only schools meeting full need (their definition of such of course), how many schools are you really talking about?
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    About 20, including top LAC's.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    I see your point,...........but unfair............no. Full payers need no leverage, but now we're saying that those that need FA need leverage? That doesn't seem fair either. I honestly don't like the idea of some getting more FA because they were better negotiators, and since I doubt that the FA is evenly applied to all who need it, that seems inherently unfair. I personally don't believe that there should be any negotiations, after all, do those who don't get into colleges that meet financial need get to negotiate. Does, say UVA negotiate FA? Finally the whole admissions process is not exactly fair, you just have to look at the lawsuits to realize that.

    In the end I think that ED obviously rewards those who can make a choice and decide on which school they really want to attend, and not have to apply to 30 schools and see which ones might want them. Applying to just one school is not a bad thing (of course you do have to be accepted).
  • DeepBlue86DeepBlue86 Registered User Posts: 725 Member
    I agree it's unfair that those who need FA need leverage, because it's not their fault that their families are less wealthy than other families.

    A full payer can apply early to their top choice with certainty that if they're admitted, they can afford to attend, while an otherwise identical candidate who needs FA may face the painful choice of renouncing the top choice they were admitted to because they didn't have negotiating leverage to improve the offer, and then have to take their chances on getting a workable offer from another school that wasn't their first choice and where they didn't get to shorten the odds by using the ED bullet.

    I think we're going to have to agree to disagree if you don't think that's unfair. I think it becomes especially unfair if the first choice is a school that gives very substantial preference to ED applicants, and which admits a large percentage of its class ED, apparently to increase yield and the proportion of full payers *cough* UChicago *cough* Penn, etc., etc.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,714 Senior Member
    edited October 11
    Doesn't it give an uneven amount of leverage to the colleges? Where is their risk?
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    In response to the last part.......wouldn't you rather go to college with classmates that really wanted to be there or those who spend most of there time lamenting their rejection at there 1st choice school. BTW I am not a full payer and I felt the FA my DD got was fair.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,513 Senior Member
    CU123 wrote:
    In response to the last part.......wouldn't you rather go to college with classmates that really wanted to be there or those who spend most of there time lamenting their rejection at there 1st choice school.

    But isn't it the case that many students apply ED out of tactical considerations (i.e. out of fear that they will not get into any of their reach choices if they do not apply ED anywhere) even though the school may not truly be their first choice? All of those "which college should I apply ED to?" posts indicate that there is some of that going on.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    edited October 11
    I don't think so, when an applicant applies ED, what is left to lament about? They made their choice and all other applications are withdrawn so they won't even know it they got into another school. This is certainly the case for ED1, there might be a case that an ED2 applicant is now pursuing his/her next best option after being rejected/differed from another EA/ED school. Still making an ED commitment is no small thing, and when making that commitment applicants have to assume that they are going to be admitted and matriculate which means that it is now their de facto first choice. In the end, for those applicants who really look at the colleges they want to get into vs just trying to get into the most prestigious college they can will most likely change there minds after they do some visits and research. They are also the most likely to get in as they can now explain in detail as to why they want to be there.

    If there was only RD then applications will continue to rise exponentially as applicants apply to 10-20 colleges to see what sticks. Not a very good way to find the right fit, ED tends to help in that regard.
  • dfbdfbdfbdfb Registered User Posts: 3,225 Senior Member
    CU123 wrote:
    In response to the last part.......wouldn't you rather go to college with classmates that really wanted to be there or those who spend most of there time lamenting their rejection at there 1st choice school.
    Excluded middle much?
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,493 Senior Member
    If you look at the ED pool, you could argue it is unfair because that the pool from which athletes and legacies are usually given a boost, so a 'regular' ED applicant is already at a disadvantage. However, go over the athletic recruits forum and you'll see athletes complaining that they will only get a boost if they apply ED, and that's not fair because they want to wait for a better deal from a higher ranked school or compare FA offers from several schools. Unfair!

    There are pluses and minuses of ED, EA, RD, etc. You have to decide what you want most, the ability to compare offers, the boost a legacy might give you in ED, security in getting it done before Dec...there is no right answer.
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