right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Early Action / Early Decision strategy?

121IllinoisDad121IllinoisDad 30 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
Hello all,

I posted a few days ago asking about my son's 34 ACT. I figured this is a different topic so I decided to post under a new subject. I'm certain this has been written about in the past so feel free to point me to an article or previous forum if that is easiest.

Several questions about Early Action & Early Decision in terms of strategy:
1) Since Early Decision is binding and Early Action is not, are we able to apply to both at the same time? IE a single ED school (top choice) while also applying multiple EA schools (backups)? I would assume this is acceptable since acceptance of ED would just invalidate the EAs while a rejection or waitlist on ED would allow the EAs to come into play.
2) I assume in terms of application process, EAs would be among your top choices and if you don't get into these, then you would add you would start adding Safeties into the regular admission deadline? In other words, is EA intended for your top choice schools? Or is it just for kids/parents who want to get the process out of way?
3) Are there downsides to applying ED and/or EA? I've heard applying ED puts you in a less favorable negotiating position for aid. I don't know if that matters for us as my wife and I are dual income and at an earnings point where need-based aid is highly unlikely. If my son applies ED, would we also be putting ourselves at a disadvantage for merit-based aid?

This is for my oldest son so I'm coming into this pretty naive. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Brian
37 replies
· Reply · Share
«13

Replies to: Early Action / Early Decision strategy?

  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    edited June 24
    Not all schools have EA. It’s great to have a few if you can. Our S19 only found one he wanted to apply to. We didn’t do ED anywhere. And, yes, you can ED to one school and then EA to others. If you get in ED, then you have to pull all other apps and decline any outstanding EA offers.

    And there’s no negotiating for aid in ED. You’re committing when you apply. You can run net price calculators on schools’ websites to get an idea of what the school will expect you to pay. ED can be a big boost depending on the school. EA not so much.
    edited June 24
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6142 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,177 Senior Member
    1. It depends ; ). Some schools have restrictions. For example, some will allow students to ED and EA, but only EA to their state publics. Some schools have binding ED, others do not. You need to check the individual admissions websites for the schools on your list.

    2. EA has many benefits, even if it isn't a first choice school. Some schools have rolling admission where you would have an acceptance in hand very early (emotionally supper beneficial). Others will only consider merit awards and honors college for students who apply EA.

    3. I don't see any downsides with applying EA other than a student needs to be on top of getting the applications in early and being sure LORs and test scores arrive in time. For ED, it takes away your ability to compare offers, especially if you are chasing merit.


    As an aside, I would not wait to complete applications until hearing from ED. You can certainly wait to submit/pay but I'd encourage my student to have all the supplemental essays written and be ready to go. Otherwise it can be a super painful and stressful winter break.



    · Reply · Share
  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    @momofsenior1 which schools have non-binding ED? That's not a thing.
    · Reply · Share
  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    @121IllinoisDad Does your son have a list yet?
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6142 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,177 Senior Member
    @homerdog - That's not what I meant so thanks for clarifying! I meant that not all schools even offer ED. Good catch!
    · Reply · Share
  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    @121IllinoisDad Ok. Checked your other thread. Sounds like your S is exclusively interested in big state schools (although I do agree with posters over there that an mid-sized elite is still quite big enough). I think he needs to forget about his friends' influence and get his feet on some campuses. I am also an NU alum as is my husband. It was too big for S19. If he wanted to go there, he would have applied ED. Legacy only counts for ED there. NU is VERY different than Illinois. Has he visited both? Talked to students? Sat in on classes?

    As for EA and ED with the Big Ten schools, many of them have rolling admissions which means that your S sends his application in as soon as it's ready and he will hear back within a certain time period, usually less than two months and sometimes as quickly as a week (Iowa). So, if he's interested in Big Ten, he could have some answers pretty quickly early on. ED is serious business so, in my opinion, an overnight at the school is very important. There's no backing out, especially for a full pay family. I think it's only NU in the Big Ten that offers ED.
    · Reply · Share
  • 121IllinoisDad121IllinoisDad 30 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    @ Homerdog. We're doing quite a few visits this summer so I expect his list to change. On paper he has the grades and scores to apply to some elite programs but for whatever reason, he prefers larger D1 schools. Only exception is Northwestern (my alma mater and kind of obligatory for that reason) but he is really gun shy about smaller privates. He is on the varsity soccer team which has allowed him to expand out of his booksmart friend group and I know he enjoys having friends who don't constantly stress about their GPA. He is STEM with a 4.5 & 34 ACT so we'll be applying to D1 schools with respected engineering programs. We're also Illinois residents so almost certain UIUC will be high on the list along with a handful of B1G schools (Purdue, UW & Mich) and probably a couple OOS with good reputations (Georgia Tech & UCLA are on the list to visit since they fall into the big school/good academics profile). Cal Poly is kind of an intriguing one because it has a good reputation, is near my retired parents (more reason to visit) and is surprisingly affordable for OOS. All of the ones mentioned above either already have been visited or will be. Based on feedback from others, I'm sure we'll add a few Safeties too.
    · Reply · Share
  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    @121IllinoisDad Being sporty and smart are not mutually exclusive things. Lots of kids are both. Our S19 was seeking kids like that and found them in spades at some elite LACs. I'm sure they exist at all types of schools.
    · Reply · Share
  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    Wisconsin, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois and Georgia Tech all have EA and not ED. I would definitely have your son use that deadline and not wait until RD. I think EA deadlines are almost always 11/1 but you’ll want to check.
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6142 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,177 Senior Member
    edited June 24
    If your S likes Purdue and Michigan and you don't mind the distance, UMD has a similar vibe and great engineering. My D even saw some merit $ there which brought the OOS COA under Purdue's. Feel free to IM if you have any Purdue engineering specific questions. My D is in honors college there and is going to start her second year soon.
    edited June 24
    · Reply · Share
  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    We have neighbors who sent both kids to Purdue for engineering. Super bright kids and they had amazing experiences and got great internships and jobs.
    · Reply · Share
  • 121IllinoisDad121IllinoisDad 30 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    @homerdog I've said the same to my son repeatedly. I had a great experience at NU in my time and never felt it was small or filled with academic introverts My son's experience is colored by his HS experience where he can jump in and out of the more academically minded kids and have a bit of a break from the stress and competition. He thinks he can replicate that at a larger state school whereas at a Northwestern, he's afraid he would be stuck in a constant rat race. If you met him, you wouldn't think was a 4.5/34 ACT kid and most of his friends are surprised when they see his GPA. He's just a happy go lucky kid and for better or worse, I know where he spends his Friday nights (its not the library). So the social aspect of college is more important to him than it probably should be. He's such a good kid otherwise that we're just trying to ride the wave with him. His two younger siblings will be much more small private college types.
    · Reply · Share
  • homerdoghomerdog 4690 replies86 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,776 Senior Member
    @121IllinoisDad well, NU is not the NU that you and I went to and it is more cut throat and intense these days. That’s another reason it didn’t appeal to S19. Other mid sized universities have more collaborative environments. As for big state schools, I bet your S would love Michigan. Be sure to show interest. Take a look at your school’s Naviance if you have it and see what the story is. For our high school, it seems to be split 50/50 between waitlist and acceptance for super high stat kids. Not a slam dunk but a good chance. If your school has a history of kids taking Michigan’s offers, I think your S has an even better chance.
    · Reply · Share
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1881 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,906 Senior Member
    Pitt engineering might be a nice rolling admission option to have---probably a highly likely for your S, he will get merit, maybe honors college. Acceptance could be in hand by end of September. If he likes that school (or another rolling admission school like Alabama), having an attractive early acceptance could decrease the number of EA apps he would have to do. Lastly, agreed on UIUC, apply as soon as the app is up.
    · Reply · Share
  • Nicki20Nicki20 350 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 354 Member
    @121IllinoisDad Is your son done with soccer after high school?
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity