I cannot decide what to do...please help!

<p>My dream schools does not have early decision. I am not sure if I can get in. It is a toss-up.
Should I apply ED at my 2nd favorite school (still not a great acceptance rate)?
Should I apply ED with a much higher chance of getting in, but not quite my top (top 5 favorite school)?
Should I apply EA at a few schools?</p>

<p>I would be happy at almost anywhere, but a dream is still a dream. I am just afraid that if I don't get into any of the schools, I will have to regret not doing ED and taking the risk, but if I do ED and get in, I will never know if I should have gone with the dream.
I know what I am leaning towards, but I would like some input.
Any opinions?</p>

<p>You should only do ED under **two **circumstances:</p>

<p>-That is the one school you would attend over all others AND
-You know you can *afford *to attend the ED school.</p>

<p>EA - not ED.</p>

<p>bump......</p>

<p>If possible, go visit again to your top 2-4 schools and then decide. </p>

<p>gadad probably gives the best advice in recommending EA, not ED, but you may find in your visits that you love one of others as much or more than your original dream school. </p>

<p>And please also tell the admissions folks at the dream school that their policy of no early admission program stinks as it coerces you (and others) to consider decisions that you otherwise might not even contemplate.</p>

<p>Visiting is not an option.</p>

<p>Have you visited any of the schools? Is the dream based on your actual experience with the school and/or the campus or is it based on hearsay and imagination??</p>

<p>I have visited the schools in the past, but I cannot visit again.</p>

<p>
[quote]
You know you can afford to attend the ED school.

[/quote]

I thought ED decisions assumed that you could - and you could walk away if you can't?</p>

<p>^ You generally can walk away if your need was not met. Unfortunately, many applicants do not fully investigate to see how much they will be expected to pay before submitting the application. Your "need" is determined by the school - not you. If your parents feel they can contribute $25,000 per year and your expected contribution is $45,000, you will have a problem. Please remember that many ED schools also use the CSS/Profile to determine need, so your expected contribution may be more than your FAFSA EFC.</p>

<p>I do not know of anyone who thought their expected contribution was reasonable, so if you are depending on financial aid at an ED school, be SURE you know how much you might be awarded by using both the FAFSA estimators and the CSS/Profile Intsitutional method calculators. Check the financial aid forum for links.</p>

<p>bump......</p>

<p>What further question do you have?? Everything is above.</p>

<p>I would like to hear more opinions on what I should do.</p>

<p>The choice is very clear, Early Decision is a FULL commitment, and your first choice is not available, so ED is out. EA is an option, do that and you'll have less of a college workload later. No one with any sense will tell you anything different.</p>