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Early decision question (from a parent of a junior)

Stellaluna27Stellaluna27 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
My daughter will be applying to college this fall. She has a definite top-choice dream school, plus will be applying to about 5-6 other schools that are less competitive. She's saying she wants to apply ED. I'm nervous about it because the potential for scholarship money is much greater at all of the schools except her top choice (of course, it's the most competitive). I'm nervous letting her apply ED and being forced to pay $45K a year when she would be pretty likely to get large scholarships from her other schools and we'd pay half that or less. Am I missing something, or is that how it's supposed to work? Should the kid want to go to a school so badly they are committed to paying full price, no matter what the $$$ is like elsewhere?
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Replies to: Early decision question (from a parent of a junior)

  • GumbymomGumbymom Forum Champion UC Posts: 24,986 Forum Champion
    If you cannot afford the ED school, then she should not apply ED period. ED should be used for a school that is affordable, a students top choice and are willing to attend no matter what. If you need to shop and compare FA packages, she should apply to schools either EA or RD.
  • Stellaluna27Stellaluna27 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    We can afford it and she will not get need-based money from anywhere. But merit money is a strong possibility. She is an excellent student. But still, even if we can pay that much, we don't WANT to lol, and would much prefer to pay $15K or $20K/yr than $45. But you're answering what I'm asking. It seems if we care about the financial aspect at all, EA is a better bet over ED. I want her chances of admission to her dream school to be maximized, but I don't want to discard the chance at merit money, either.
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,162 Senior Member
    edited February 11
    Bravo to you for thinking about this in junior year!

    Run the Net Price Calculator (NPC) for each of the colleges under consideration, and print out the results. That's about the amount for which the college will put your family on the hook. Then sit down with your daughter, explain what the NPC does, and show her the printouts. Explain that there are additional costs not covered by the NPC (travel costs, money to go out with friends, snacks for the dorm room, a laptop, books, phone bills, etc.). Tell her what you can afford to pay or are willing to pay (those numbers may or may not be different from each other - and different again from the NPC results). Explain that students are limited to $5,500 in loans their first year of college and that you will not jeopardize your retirement by cosigning any additional loans.

    At that point it should be abundantly clear to her what she is up against. You can encourage her to apply to the dream school, but you need to make it crystal clear that you have laid it all out honestly in terms of finances, so if financial aid isn't forthcoming she is going to have to turn down that school.

    If your daughter applies ED, she can turn the school down if it is unaffordable. Run the NPC before she applies, and print out the results. If the financial aid offer doesn't come close to the NPC, you'd have grounds to decline the ED offer. Insist that your daughter apply EA (if no conflict with ED agreement) or rolling admissions to one of the other schools before the ED app is submitted. This could turn into an ugly situation, which is why I suggest spelling everything out for DD up front. She may not be happy, but she can't say you aren't being fair.
  • RockySoilRockySoil Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    This has been discussed many times on these forums, but it isn't at clear that ED actually provides a boost to admission chances at many of the top schools. The admission rates are higher for ED, but once you subtract Legacies Athletes, URMs and other "hooked" applicants the difference between ED and RD admittance rates narrows considerably. From there, many of the top schools claim (big caveat) that the ED pool is stronger, and that accounts for rest of the difference. Each school is different, though - if her dream school's Common Data Set says they weigh "Demonstrated Interest" as important, then ED gives a definite boost. OTOH, if her dream school is MIT or Cal Tech, then there is zero advantage to applying early. If there isn't much advantage to ED, then she can apply RD and not have to guess about finances when she chooses a school.
  • Stellaluna27Stellaluna27 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Thank you for your reply. It's Virginia Tech, and on their site they say "40,842" for OOS tuition & room and board. I revised upwards for travel expenses, I'm sure it could be more total in the end. https://vt.edu/admissions/undergraduate/cost.html
  • Stellaluna27Stellaluna27 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Actually I just found this more comprehensive breakdown, including everything, it says $46,220

    https://finaid.vt.edu/content/dam/finaid_vt_edu/Cost_of_Attendance/Final COA OutState 1819_UG.pdf
  • Stellaluna27Stellaluna27 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    edited February 11
    RockySoil The school is HUGE on demonstrated interest. But they offer EA as well as ED. Your points give me food for thought, thank you
  • anon145anon145 Registered User Posts: 280 Junior Member
    @Stellaluna27 if you have the ability to apply in state to a public EA school if you don't like the cost of the ED school one can go in state to a public that cost a lot less even if they apply ED elsewhere. You can not however back out of ED to go to a different private for slightly less. Many of the EA/ED schools also say they allow you to also apply EA to in state publics. However, be aware that NO ivies, and neither williams, Amherst nor other top LACs offer merit. Also, Duke, Vanderbilt etc. offer almost no Merit either. Again ED does help at some places but not all, and if you aren't willing to shell out 50$K plus a year I wouldn't recommend ED.
  • Stellaluna27Stellaluna27 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    edited February 11
    @anon145 Luckily she has no interest in any Ivies or top LACs. Unfortunately, she also doesn't like ANY schools in our state that offer her major. Ugh.
  • collegemom9collegemom9 Registered User Posts: 366 Member
    @RockySoil This really is not accurate. The ED pool for many schools is often more competitive as you have kids with very high stats in the RD pool who haven't been admitted to Ivies. I can tell you that my son is going to Emory and ED applicants absolutely stand a better chance of admittance even if you aren't a legacy or athlete. The RD pool is an unbelievably competitive group of applicants.
  • allyphoeallyphoe Registered User Posts: 2,039 Senior Member
    When you're talking about the finances, I strongly suggest that you cover how the ultimate choice will be made. Better to have it on the table up front if VT at sticker price will even be an option available to her if another school comes in at $15k.

    On my kid's list are a school with guaranteed merit, three with competitive merit, and one with need-based only - and that last one is the most expensive even if no merit is awarded anywhere. There's a $30k difference between the bottom and the top, but we could afford the most expensive without debt. It took a lot of hard parental discussion before we decided (and explained) what role price was going to play in the final decision.
  • mikemacmikemac Registered User Posts: 10,127 Senior Member
    edited February 11
    We can afford it and she will not get need-based money from anywhere. But merit money is a strong possibility. I want her chances of admission to her dream school to be maximized, but I don't want to discard the chance at merit money, either.
    If you apply ED you will never know about the merit money. When you apply ED you are required to withdraw all other apps. You can look at the ED offer and tell them you can't afford it (there is some debate on how flexible this really is) but that would mean cancelling the ED acceptance. Otherwise the ED offer is the only offer.

    The next thought some have is "what if we don't withdraw the other apps to see what they offer?" For many ED programs the GC is required to sign as well as the student and parent. The GC can notify the other schools of the ED offer, can refuse to send out official transcripts to other schools if the ED offer is not declined. Colleges may also exchange info about ED offers.
  • Stellaluna27Stellaluna27 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Based on these replies I'm thinking Early Action is the way to go for us. I wish there was a way to find out the % accepted EA vs ED. Do you think the school would tell me if I asked?
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