how to decide where to apply early decision? (if anywhere)

<p>i'm visiting schools over the summer (i'm a rising senior). being there, especially while the students are on summer break, might not be enough to know if it's the school i want to spend the next four years at. so how did you guys decide where to apply early decision? (if anywhere...i'm not saying i DEFINITELY will apply somewhere ED/EA but i'm seriously considering it)</p>

<p>It has to be someplace you really love. If you're unsure, don't do it.</p>

<p>What can your parents afford? Unless you are full pay, ED is very tricky</p>

<p>If you're asking where you should apply ED, that means you shouldn't. As Erin'sDad said, only apply ED to a school you love. The choice should be clear to you, otherwise just apply RD.</p>

<p>I agree with everything everyone said about ED (Early DECISION). Only apply there if it is really your favorite. EA (Early ACTION) is your friend and you should do as much as you can get ready for (of the schools you would like to attend) because the acceptances make your December easier and your spring happier, and the rejections remind you to improve your app for the RD schools.</p>

<p>Your question was how to decide which to do; my son chose not to do any ED because he wanted to compare options in the spring, even though he DID have a favorite school.</p>

<p>thanks for the input so far. any other thoughts?</p>

<p>and i'm full-pay for every school so ed seems like a great idea for a school i love</p>

<p>I think you need to go through this mental exercise:
Pretend you applied RD to all of your schools and it's now April 1st and you got admitted to ALL of them.</p>

<p>Which one would you pick?</p>

<p>That's the school you should apply to ED.</p>

<p>I don't get the whole "I want to see what happens in the spring" bit. There is no information that you will have in the spring that you can't obtain in the fall.</p>

<p>ED is a valuable option and you should avail yourself of it unless FA is an issue. Don't forget that sometimes applying ED can make the difference between getting in or not.</p>

<p>Two things could happen in/by spring. One - you know more of what you want. Two - you learn what the actual financial aid packages will be. The second is not an issue for OP, but the first is, because she really doesn't know what she wants.</p>

<p>well after my visits i'll know. right now, duke REALLY appeals to me. however, i've never visited...if i like it just as much after i visit, then i'm applying ED</p>

<p>@soze, you are absolutely right about the value of applying ED. it really can make the difference between an acceptance and rejection in many cases</p>

<p>To truly use ED strategically, select a school that is just a slight reach, if it's a top school like Duke you should have stats comfortably near the top of the 50% range but don't need to be over the 75th percentile as an unhooked good candidate for RD does.</p>

<p>Also consider important factors like who else from your school is applying both ED and RD. Two athletes being recruited or a couple of legacies going ED? That would make it tough. 7 people with stats close to yours applying RD? Get there first.</p>

<p>I think EA is a better option than ED. EA can take a little stress off of December through May, but you tastes can change A LOT between October and May. Keep in mind, you're not even going to be 18 when ED comes around (in fact, I'll still be 16).</p>

<p>Unless you decided when you were 4 that you want to go to an ED school (exaggeration), I don't think picking one on a whim is the best idea. Another exception is if you go to the campus and the second you get there you think "this is the school for me," not even... "I can see myself here" but "I can't ever imagine seeing myself anywhere else." It's not just the school you THINK you like best, but it's the school you KNOW you will ALWAYS like best.</p>

<p>If financial aid is not at all an issue, ED may be able to give slight advantage, as ED admit rates are usually higher than RD rates. But like others said, don't ever apply ED if you're unsure about the school!</p>

<p>What's this problem with ED and financial aid?</p>

<p>Is it the inability to compare aid packages from different colleges, or does ED prevent you from obtaining a substantial amount of aid that would be available to RD applicants?</p>

<p>^ Applying Early Decision signifies your intention to attend that school on the condition of acceptance. This means that once accepted, all other applications including those submitted RD must be withdrawn. I'm sure every school allows an applicant to reject ED acceptance if there were to be significant financial difficulty in paying for the educational costs, but this is a big hassle. Applying EA is probably the safest bet, especially if you're not too sure where you want to end up next year.</p>

<p>I know someone who applied ED to Duke sight unseen. She got in and then attended the Accepted Student Days in April. Hated it. </p>

<p>Good thing you're going to visit before you apply.</p>

<p>1) Visit the school and sit in some classes to make sure that you really love this "dream school." (as DougBetsy described, some end up hating their dream schools).</p>

<p>2) Make sure you can afford the school - if your parents have agreed to pay, then fine. If you're very low income and the school promises to meet 100% of need without big loans, then fine. If you're somewhere in the middle (or the school doesn't promise to meet 100% of need without big loans), then applying ED is not a good idea.</p>

<p>3) Make sure that you also apply to one or two rolling admissions schools (perhaps with some scholarship money). That way, if the ED money doesn't work out, you'll know if you have a better option in hand. The problem with waiting until after ED decisions are made is that it's often too late to apply for scholarships at the schools that give them.</p>

<p>
[quote]
What's this problem with ED and financial aid?</p>

<p>Is it the inability to compare aid packages from different colleges, or does ED prevent you from obtaining a substantial amount of aid that would be available to RD applicants?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>By making an ED commitment, you have few financial options should the FA package not be all that you expected. It is nearly impossible to predict the make up of a fin aid package, even at schools that meet 100% of need. My D wanted to apply ED to a schools that met 100% of need. I talked her out of it and when the fin aid packages arrived in April it the potential ED school's FA was the worst of the 6 she received. </p>

<p>I don't believe that schools take advantage of ED applicants by giving them less than an RD applicant would get.</p>

<p>ED is a great option if you have a clear first choice and aren't worried about financial aid. S completed only on application, knew where he was going by mid-December and, unlike his friends, had a stress-free senior year. </p>

<p>He was also told by his ED school's financial aid office that he'd receive the same financial aid package no matter when he applied-ED or RD. They were very transparent about what he's be offered plus or minus x amount. It was a package we could live with given what a good fit the school was for him.</p>

<p>Apply ED to a school if:
1) You will be completely happy going there - you will have no regrets about withdrawing all other apps as soon as you get in.
2) Your finances are such that you will be able to accept whatever aid that school offers
3) You have a reasonable shot at the school.</p>

<p>Unfortunately, these threads on ED get into biases of the posters more than anything else. Specifically, avoiding ED for EA is not the issue. </p>

<p>To the O.P.'s question:</p>

<p>After your visits this summer, do an overnight and attend classes at your favorite of the schools. IF you are convinced that school is the place for you, apply ED (as long as you don't need first semester senior grades to bolster your application).</p>