<p>Hey guys I'm trying to decide whether to apply to MIT EA or to Columbia ED...and I'll give you my reasons...</p>
<p>First of all I know I should make this decision based on what school I like better and would rather attend...but I really feel like I'd be happy going to either one...probably a bit happier at MIT though, since it HAS been my dream school. The thing is, I think I would have a better shot at Columbia if I did ED, (rather than RD) and I'm not exactly confident about my chances at MIT either. </p>
<p>rank : 1/593
SATs: 2310 740V, 800M, 770W
IIs : chem 800 IIC 800 japanese 800 history 760 physics 760
hardest curriculum in my school...went a little beyond it too...uhh one B+, the rest A's.
V soccer four years
President of NHS
internship at nanotech lab soph year
New Jersery Governor's School in the Sciences junior year
Columbia's SHP program
Volunteer as a TA teaching Japanese
On the Middle States Accreditation Committee for my school
Went to Japan to participate in continued research over the summer this year with my mentor from soph year
Ap National Scholar - mostly 5's, like two 4s when I self-studied
Great recs, good essays, and some other minor awards/activities here and there...</p>
<p>I'm also legacy...my great-grandfather/grandfather/father all went to MIT...but I already know MIT really doesn't factor that in. Does the legacy thing make a difference if I applied EA or RD?</p>
<p>I'm really torn. I can imagine applying EA to MIT, not getting in and then not getting into Columbia RD either...I have a shot at Columbia if I did ED I think but then I would always wonder about MIT. Can anyone offer some enlightening advice? I really need to start applications...soon....hahah. man its so stressful.</p>
<p>ED (Early Decision) applications are designed for students who are serious about and willing to commit to attending one specific college or university if they are accepted there; they are not meant as vehicles for "improving the odds of admissions", although some people do attempt to game the system in that way. Given the OP's comments above, it's not clear to me that Columbia is his clear first choice, but let's put that aside for a moment. EA (Early Admission) is different in that you are not committing to attend any institution that accepts you EA until the May 1 national decision deadline, you are just learning your admissions decision early, and most (but not all!) schools offering EA do not prohibit you from submitting concurrent applications to other schools. </p>
<p>In the question of ED and EA applications, it is vitally important to research what your desired school's policy is. In the case of Columbia, this means looking at the application itself (which I found in</a> .pdf form at their website). Their application indicates that their ED process differs from most in that they DO allow (but do NOT encourage) concurrent EA applications (MOST schools with ED do NOT allow this):
According to National Association for College Admissions Counseling guidelines, "while pursuing admission under an Early Decision plan, students may apply to other institutions, but may have only one Early Decision application pending at any time." While Columbia does not necessarily encourage the filing of both Early Decision (binding) and Early Admission (non-binding) applications, we do not prohibit candidates from doing so. However, candidates should be aware that Columbia's Early Decision program is a binding agreement and a candidate will be expected to enroll, regardless of any pending applications (early or otherwise).
In the case of MIT's EA process, there are no restrictions on where else you may apply (subject to the NACAC guideline mentioned in the Columbia ED quote above):
Our early program is non-binding; if you are admitted under Early Action, you may accept or decline the offer, and in either case you are not required to reply until May 1.
In short, research any schools for which you are considering applying ED or EA, and be certain you are aware of their requirements and expectations. There are specific understandings implicit in ED and EA applications at each school, and you need to research those to know what is appropriate and ethical at any school to which you plan to apply. In this case, it appears you <em>could</em> apply ED to Columbia and EA to MIT concurrently, but if accepted ED at Columbia you would be bound and expected to commit there and withdraw any other applications, including an MIT EA application. So don't do this unless you're sure you want to attend Columbia as your first choice. (It's also not usually a great idea to apply ED if you want to compare financial aid offers, but that's for another thread.)</p>