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

<p>fyi ... I have no issue with my kids applying ED to a clear first choice school (in fact my oldest applied ED to the school she attends) ... for them to apply ED we will want them to investigate and visit alternatives ... and to visit and preferably stay over at the prospective ED school <strong><em>while school is in session</em></strong>. For me only a summer visit would be dangerous for an ED application ... student fit into the culture, campus vibe, and fellow classmates is a huge factor IMO and this can only be judged when the students are there.</p>

<p>Be aware that many students change a great deal between Sept. and April of their senior years, and schools that they find extremely appealing in Sept. may not be what they want in April.</p>

<p>@3togo, you make a great point. so it'd be a good idea to visit duke in late august after it's in session and before my senior year starts up?</p>

<p>
[quote]
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.

[/quote]

  1. Apply ED only to your one dream school above all others.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>If the school uses the Common Application:
[quote]
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.

[/quote]
<a href="https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/docs/downloadforms/ED_Agreement.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/docs/downloadforms/ED_Agreement.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/li>
<li><p>Indeed!</p></li>
</ol>

<p>


</p>

<p>And kids making their decisions in April may feel differently in October. Regardless, both the student deciding in Sept and the student deciding in April made a decision. That's part of life whether you're buying a home, proposing marriage or deciding on a job. </p>

<p>MANY schools that offer ED have a returning (rising sophomore) rate of 89 percent or better, so I don't think that supports your opinion. However, if you have facts on the matter showing a large number of disgruntle ED students, please bring them forward.</p>

<p>Applying ED may be a great option for someone who has thoroughly investigated college options, and is 100% sold on a particular college. It can be a bad option for someone who's just hoping to use ED to relieve the anxiety of senior year or to have an early guaranteed admission.</p>

<p>Every year on CC there are students who regret their ED admissions. There don't need to be enormous numbers of students who feel that way. There just needs to be one student who feels that way if that one student is you.</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>We just have a fundamentally different viewpoint. There is no perfect school. There is no perfect marriage and if you spend your time waiting to be 100 percent convinced about things, some of life may be passing you by. If we were allowed signatures on this forum, mine would be 'college is largely what you make of it.' </p>

<p>Sure, do your good diligence and consider your options and rationale. But, the vast majority of people would be far happier and more productive if they get over perceived regrets and get on with the getting on. Pointedly, make the best of the college you are in, make the best of the marriage you are in et cetera. That's my viewpoint.</p>

<p>*After your visits this summer, do an overnight and attend classes at your favorite of the schools.</p>

<p>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>

<p>And if you know that you will have financing in place. As long as your parents will pay - either full freight or whatever FA doesn't cover - then apply ED.</p>

<p>I may have you confused with another student. Are you the boarding school student and money is not an issue?</p>

<p>However, always assume that you won't get in, and have some back up schools in reserve.</p>

<p>"We just have a fundamentally different viewpoint. There is no perfect school. There is no perfect marriage and if you spend your time waiting to be 100 percent convinced about things, some of life may be passing you by. If we were allowed signatures on this forum, mine would be 'college is largely what you make of it.' "</p>

<p>No, we don't have a fundamentally different viewpoint. I agree that there's no perfect school, and I think it's silly when students think only one school can meet their needs.</p>

<p>When it comes to ED, however, I've seen many students on CC who on some kind of whim applied ED and were accepted and then were miserable when they saw peers with similar stats accepted RD schools that the ED student would have liked better or would have chosen if they had the option of selecting their college in the spring instead of the fall/winter. </p>

<p>This is why I say that unless someone has done a lot of research and is virtually 100% certain about wishing to go to a school above all others, one shouldn't apply ED.</p>

<p>
[quote]
When it comes to ED, however, I've seen many students on CC who on some kind of whim applied ED and were accepted and then were miserable when they saw peers with similar stats accepted RD schools that the ED student would have liked better or would have chosen if they had the option of selecting their college in the spring instead of the fall/winter.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Thus, you're concerned about kids that are "miserable", not because of how things turned out in their own applications, but because they are unhappy how things turned out well for peers. Conversely, they would walk around with some self-satisfied smile on their face if these RD decisions for others went poorly and peers ended up at their safety school. Right? That's all a paper chase and something I don't care much about. The college didn't make these kids miserable, they made themselves miserable.</p>

<p>
[quote]
so it'd be a good idea to visit duke in late august after it's in session and before my senior year starts up?

[/quote]
Sure ... anytime you can get there and school is in session would be great</p>

<p>cty ... I'm with NSM on this one. Very early on my oldest had a clear preference for urban not small highly selective schools in the northeast ... I agree with you that quite a few schools could fit that bill and that she would have thrived at any of about a dozen schools. However on CC we often see students searching for school to which to apply to ED or using ED as an admission strategy and not focused or not sure of what type of school in which they are interested ... and every year there are multiple stoires of students accepted ED who now wish they had stayed closer to home (or visa versa) or had applied to a LAC instead of a large Reseach U (or visa versa) ... I certainly agree students can do fine at lots of schools but missing on a major attribute when applying ED is unfortunate IMO. </p>

<p>Or said another way ... the time from September to April is "only" 6 months ... I however do not think of this 6 months in context of the students 18 years ... but more like 6 months of the 3 years or so of when the student is truely becoming an adult ... this is A LOT of extra time to know oneself. For my kids unless they are very sure about the attributes of schools in general and about a particular school we will advocate against an ED application.</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>You have me at a loss ... what are these large (15,000+ undergrads) research universities that offer early decision? Even if you were to stretch the definition of a "research" universities ... could you name five? I can't.</p>

<p>
[quote]

You have me at a loss ... what are these large (15,000+ undergrads) research universities that offer early decision? Even if you were to stretch the definition of a "research" universities ... could you name five? I can't.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>That was an interesting question. I thought about all the ED schools I know, which was around 7-8, and after checking with CollegeBoard, only 3 made the list:</p>

<p>University of Miami
Cornell
Penn</p>

<p>In regards to whoever said that people are sad because their peers got into better schools, I think that perspective is flawed. They're not jealous/mad at their peers - it's more so that they feel bad for themselves or are considering the possibilities. I can't relate but people I know who did ED and then regretted it eventually enjoyed the school after they accepted the fact that they were enrolled there.</p>

<p>
[quote]
That was an interesting question. I thought about all the ED schools I know, which was around 7-8, and after checking with CollegeBoard, only 3 made the list:</p>

<p>University of Miami
Cornell
Penn

[/quote]
</p>

<p>That would leave the University of Miami as Cornell and Penn are both less than 15K undergraduate students. Not that University of Miami is not a fine school, but the next time a University of Miami bound student tells me he or she is excited about the research opportunities at Coral Gables, will be the first time.</p>

<p>"Right? That's all a paper chase and something I don't care much about. The college didn't make these kids miserable, they made themselves miserable."</p>

<p>You are right that the colleges didn't make them miserable. Still, the students wouldn't have been so miserable in April if instead of applying ED to their dream schools they had applied RD to their dream schools as well as to safety and match schools. The problem was that the students had hedged their bets: Decided to apply ED to boost their chances of getting into a good school. For them, this had meant not applying to their dream schools, but applying to schools that they considered second best and longshots. </p>

<p>When peers with similar stats got into the ED students' dream schools, the ED students felt disappointed with their own results because they assumed that they may have been able to go to their dream schools if they'd had the guts to apply RD.</p>

<p>That's why I say apply ED only if you're 100% certain that school is by far your first choice and you'd be happy to attend there.</p>

<p>C'mon folks, ED is not a lifetime of indentured servitude, it's one year. If you get there and don't like it, transfer. Not necessarily the ideal situation but you will have learned a lesson about the pitfalls of "gaming the system" especially if your only logic for applying ED is to increase your chances at a "prestigious" university.</p>

<p>P.S. Miami has 11,000 undergrads, Penn 12K and Cornell 13K. As for:

[quote]
the next time a University of Miami bound student tells me he or she is excited about the research opportunities at Coral Gables, will be the first time.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>All I have to say to that is, you've obviously never met a dedicated Marine Sciences undergrad. I should know, I have one.</p>

<p>
[quote]

That would leave the University of Miami as Cornell and Penn are both less than 15K undergraduate students. Not that University of Miami is not a fine school, but the next time a University of Miami bound student tells me he or she is excited about the research opportunities at Coral Gables, will be the first time.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I thought you were referring to overall university size rather than just undergrad population. If it's the latter, then I don't even know how many top schools have 15k+ undergrads, let alone ED schools.</p>

<p>*C'mon folks, ED is not a lifetime of indentured servitude, it's one year. If you get there and don't like it, transfer. *</p>

<p>True...but....</p>

<p>If you applied to an ED school that gives fab aid, but then have to transfer to a school that doesn't give great aid to transfer students and you've missed your opportunities for the big scholarship offers for incoming freshmen, then leaving your ED school can be a financial nightmare.</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>There is only one dream school, more than one is just a wish list. Prudent college advice is much like prudent financial investment advice: don't adopt financial risk that will keep you awake at night. So, yes, for the gutsy risk-takers out there that are willing to go for their dream school RD and are willing to live with the possibility of a reduced chance of getting into their second choice school RD (depending on the school) plus the possibility of putting their safety school more in play - go for it. </p>

<p>Chasing a 'dream school' can be its own cautionary tale. Like the family across the way that spent 150+K sending their son away to another state for four years to a private school to increase the perceived chance of him getting into his dream school (not to mention the 60K during the period in town taxes to support a fine public school that their son isn't using. Four years of only seeing their son during the summer, holidays and school vacations. Four years with limited time for their son to enjoy the company of his siblings or local relatives or old friends to hang with. All to deal with the reality of their son not only not getting into his dream school but the reality of him NOT getting into any of his 'meet' schools and wait-listed at his safety school. They are not getting those four years back with their son. To say they are enraged about the whole experience would be an understatement. Yet, they too will be seeing the list of his many middle-school peers he grew up with in the local paper - that graduated the local public school and see those going to their son's dream school. What a living nightmare.</p>

<p>Certainly there is no right or wrong. It's more about determining what's really of value to you, what risks are palatable and developing a plan accordingly.</p>