Sr. Parents: Question about ED

<p>Senior parents! I hope you will answer a question that may help many of us Junior parents next year.</p>

<p>Did you child apply ED? If so, why? Was it because there was one school that he/she absolutely loved more than any other or was it because they thought that ED would give them a boost on a more selective school?</p>

<p>And, how did it work out? Did your child have any regrets after the fact about applying ED? What were they?</p>

<p>I am asking this because my daughter is seriously talking about applying ED to a school she loves above all others. They also have an EA option. RD acceptance rate this year was 66% (down from 70% last year), EA, 75%, ED 90%. Her stats overall fall solidly in the middle of the pack for this school. I am worried about whether she might have regrets or wonder "what if" if she goes the ED route, although I do think this is most likely where she would end up if she gets in one way or the other.</p>

<p>So, any personal stories to share would be much appreciated.</p>

<p>We toured nine schools in 14 days last summer. S applied ED to Boston University, the very first college we visited. He fell in love with everything about it. He wanted to be in a city, have internship opportunities, and an extensive selection of courses in many departments. He is undecided on a major, although it will be in the humanities or social sciences. And it helped that BU has a generous policy for AP credit. </p>

<p>Everything about BU was right: the city, the academics, the guy to girl ratio, huge Jewish student population. What was really cool was that both he and I felt the "right fit" vibes.</p>

<p>BU would have been an RD safety school-- whoops, I mean "sure bet." He has absolutely no regrets. He was accepted with a half-tuition merit scholarship.</p>

Was it because there was one school that he/she absolutely loved more than any other or was it because they thought that ED would give them a boost on a more selective school?


<p>Both. It was a clear first choice by a very wide margin from the moment she set foot on campus. It remained the clear first choice over the course of a year of college visits. And, was confirmed as a first choice with a final overnight in October.</p>

<p>Basically, the "strategy" was a full-court press to maximize the odds of admission to that clear, first choice. Going into it, we viewed the school as a reach, although not an unrealistic reach. In any case, the ED app was a big part of the full-court press, giving the best opportunity for a focused, targeted app to work. If I had felt the school was an unrealistic longshot, I would have argued against it. IMO, you want to play the ED school where admission is realistically plausible, not at some 1 in 10 crapshoot.</p>

<p>We discussed the merits of applying to two other schools, purely as a strategic move -- both would have been pretty much sure bets, IMO. One because of 75th percentile stats and a strong app, the other because of 50th percentile stats, a strong app, and a legacy. But, the first choice school was so far out in front of the pack that it warranted the playing the ED card. There was not a sufficiently clear second choice, so D had already made the decision not to play the EDII card, although I suppose that was subject to change.</p>

<p>Zero regrets. ED was the best thing that could have possibly happened. However, this was a clear first choice with a LOT of contact to serve as confirmation. She just knew. Dad knew. Mom knew. Not a shadow of a doubt.</p>

<p>In retrospect, I believe she would have been accepted RD. It was a good application for the school. But, once you toss your app into that big RD pile, there are variables and elements of chance that creep into play. If you've got a good app, ED gives them every opportunity to accept you. No tired, frazzled adcoms. No luck of the draw to be the 15 app with the same EC in a long night of app reading. No coming up for consideration when the committee has just accepted 15 white girls from private schools in New England and is desperately searching the folders for a Latino male from a public school in the Southwest. No variables in ED. If they are ever going to bite the hook, they'll bite in ED.</p>

<p>Carolyn, for what its worth, I think that if your daughter's stats are in the middle for this school, and the EA acceptance rate is 75% - then she is extremely likely to get accepted by that route. The ED boost would probably mean more for a kid who is on the low end for stats. I certainly would look at that stats as putting the school within a "safe bet" category.</p>

<p>I know that isn't the answer you are looking for. If financial aid is not a factor, then there is no down side to ED and you should go for it. But I think EA is also a way for a student to demonstrate strong interest, even if it is not binding. So really, the question is whether you will need and qualify for need-based aid, and whether the school guarantees to meet need for ED students. (Merit aid is unlikely if your daughter's stats are mid-range).</p>

<p>Calmom, That's a bit of what worries me. Is it wrong to apply ED to a match or safety if that truly is your first choice school? Financial aid is not in the mix (we won't qualify, have means to pay for it). Kinshasha thanks for your son's story and ID, as usual, your posts are always valuable.</p>

<p>ED worked great for my son. Two years ago, the early choice for him was between Williams – which was a reach – and Yale – which was still ED and was a super reach. The actual two schools involved in his case are not the important point; what matters is their relative selectivity. The question that he wrestled with was should he use up his ED merit points on the hardest possible choice or go for what was a difficult but still reasonable reach? Or to put it another way, would he regret not applying to the biggest name, going for the biggest prize?</p>

<p>In the end Williams just seemed so right for HIM (and it IS!) that it was a fairly easy decision. </p>

<p>Afterwards when he got the good news, I can’t say that he was 100% remorse free. Nothing serious and nothing that would have caused him to second guess his choice but a niggling question “Could I have been a contender?” This intensified in May when his friends were receiving multiple acceptances, but it passed quickly. He’ll never know about Yale, but knowing what he knows now about Williams, the thought that he might have blown the opportunity by NOT applying ED gives us the willies.</p>

<p>The interesting corollary to this whole chain of events was what we learned afterward. No one from his high school had attended Williams for as long as any one could remember. Although his school had a good track record at HYSPM and other selective LACs like Swarthmore and Pomona, Williams was not on their radar screen, nor was the high school on Williams’. Unbeknownst to us one of the top kids in my son’s class also applied, but regular decision. This kid is a true superstar – top grades, perfect scores, several sports, three languages, a fine person who also plays the trombone! He of course was accepted everywhere but chose Williams. Even though his profile was completely different from my son’s, I have to suspect that had he and my son been in the same pool, the college may not have accepted both just because of our geographic oddity. My lesson then is that ED was a way to control what you can control.</p>

<p>If he (and I) were to do it again we would go for ED. No regrets, just relief.</p>

<p>If it's truly your daughter's first choice, and money isn't an issue, then of course she should apply ED. Why not? She'll have everything in the bag early on -- you don't even have to stress while waiting on the ED answer. </p>

<p>Your question
Is it wrong to apply ED to a match or safety if that truly is your first choice school?

makes me wonder if some part of you is hoping that your daughter will consider some sort of reach school. My question is why? I could understand your concern that she might not be challenged if she was settling on a school where the average stats were significantly below hers.... but from what you say, she's focusing on a college that is a good match, and also has the benefit of being one that she is fairly sure of getting into. </p>

<p>I would love to be in your shoes. I think from other posts of yours that your d's stats are similar to my daughter's, but my d. is focusing on reach schools like Barnard and U. of Chicago, and money is a big concern for us. Honestly, I would get down on my knees and kiss her feet if she would fall in love with any of the UC campuses that are clear match/safeties for her and financial safeties for me. Instead we are going to have a rocky year, filled with stress over tests, money spent on retesting and test prep, hundreds of dollars in app fees to colleges that she is unlikely to get into, and a strong possibility that I will have to tell her in the end that we can't afford the schools she is hoping for anyway. </p>

<p>So if your daughter is still sure in October .. go for it. Then enjoy a calm and relaxed senior year. Think of it this way: it is your last year with your daughter living at home. Won't the two of you have a lot more fun together without the December-April stress?</p>

<p>My son applied and was accepted to Duke ED. He has been in love with Duke since he was 10 years old. Once we visited, he was more certain. It was great knowing that he was accepted on Dec 15. He has sat back and watched his friends stress and wait. In the back of his head he wonders if he would have been accepted to Harvard, but only out of ego. He says he wouldn't have gone there anyway. So, it was a great decision. CJ</p>

<p>We've had 2 kids apply ED. Our daughter was out of state for UVA, so we considered it a reach. She loved the school the first time we visited during the summer after 10th grade. Right before ED aps were due I took her back to make sure she wanted UVA above the other dozen schools we had visited. We would not have gotten financial aid anyway, & scholarship money was out of the question. She has since graduated & loved it.
Our son was accepted this December to Virginia Tech where he would have undoubtedly been accepted without ED. His stats were high even for engineering, & they accept about 70%. He hadn't visited nearly as many schools as his sister due to his choice of engineering as a major, & wanting to be within driving distance of home. Cost was also a factor to a point. We don't qualify for financial aid, yet can't really pay what the FAFSA says we can. He wanted a laid back atmosphere with good engineering, at a large but not huge school. VT seems like the perfect fit. ED was so nice because while his friends were sweating it out in March his only question was whether he would get into the honors college. (which he did) The only drawback I see is that a friend of his who applied RD & who looks pretty similar on paper got an engineering scholarship from VT, so now we're wondering if our son would have also gotten that scholarship.
Schools seem to be getting more & more selective (VT's average SAT went from 1200 last year to 1240 this year). With that in mind, if your daughter has visited plenty of schools & is still set on ED at a particular school why not? - especially since she is in the middle of the school's stats now, because you don't know where she'd fall once the RD round rolls around in the spring. I would take her back for a visit in October just to make sure.</p>

<p>If my son could have applied EA to his fav school, he would have. With music, he couldn't. It would have saved him so much work. He never strayed from loving this perfect match school but was willing to apply elsewhere since financial aid was of utmost importance. He completed 8 applications, was accepted everywhere even to more "reach" institutions. When the water settled he chose the one he loved the most all along. Oh, what a different year it would have been if he could have applied EA! As a stupid parent, I figured if he could make the reaches, he would chose them. How stupid I was.</p>

I always enjoy your posts. Glad to be able to give you the benefit of my experience for a change!
My high end (not Ivies, too cold) child applied RD. Did know Engineering in general, mid size, not State U size. Was offered decent merit $ at a top 50 national university and Honors in major program admission. Merit scholarship does open doors to some opportunities but this child preferred specific opportunities offered by the honors major (engineering co-op). No regrets.
My next one, the high SAT, low GPA kid decided to go the ED route at the most selective school on the list, a top 10 regional masters university. Had some lower level places which might have given some merit aid based on the SAT but felt more welcomed at ED school. SAT above their average, but GPA (HS calculation) was a bit below. Not sure how the school recalculates GPA. This child felt ED would seal the deal, it did. No regrets here, either.
I would recommend that daughter considers the EA option even if she never applies anywhere else. It seems likely she will get in, but it gives the school an opportunity to woo her with merit $ and honors programs. Sometimes those things are not as forthcoming to ED applicants as they are already captive audiences.</p>

<p>Carolyn -
Before I launch into my long post, I would like to say that it feels rather strange to be giving advice to YOU, as you are one of the most knowledgeable and level-headed posters on this board. Well, here goes:</p>

<p>Your description of your daughter and her possible ED decision almost exactly matches the situation my daugher was in this year. We visited six LACs and one smaller university (one in the fall of junior year and six on a spring break trip). She had retaken her SATs before the spring trip, but didn't have her scores yet, so we were targeting schools where her initial scores put her in the lower part of the range for some of the colleges, hoping her new scores would be higher. One of her main criteria was the ability to minor in or pursue studio art while majoring in an unrelated subject. She did not want an all-women's school, and she wanted to be close enough that it is possible to drive or get a ride home from college (although in retrospect this seems silly, given the ease of plane travel). The last school we visited on our six school trek was Kenyon, so she had a good basis for comparing to other schools at that point. </p>

<p>My daughter attends a huge high school and was attracted to small LACs because she thrives on personal interaction and also felt that it would be easier to get involved in different activities in a smaller school. Everything about the school seemed perfect to her - the campus, the dining hall, the academic program in her area of interest, the study abroad opportunities, the EC opportunities for her interests, the students, the professor who gave us a private tour of the art department, the tour guide and, especially, the senior student who interviewed her (they came out of the interview room after the interview looking like long lost friends.) </p>

<p>Kenyon's acceptance rate has been dropping each year, and its RD rate last year was something like 38% compared to 66% for ED (It has been reported that for this year only about half of the ED applicants were accepted.) </p>

<p>It turned out that her new SAT scores were 120 points above her first ones, making her chance for admission to the colleges we had visited (including Kenyon) much more solid. Her verbal score (740) was just above the 75% for Kenyon and her math (640)
was about 5 points below their average, with her total score about 55 points above their average. As is the case for your family, we do not qualify for financial aid so that factor was not relevant to us. Another factor for us was that not many people from our school normally apply to LACs, and I wasn't sure if Kenyon would look favorably or unfavorably on a student from a school totally unknown to them. My daughter is in the top 2% of her class with grades weighted for AP and Honors), but less than 50% of her graduating class will go to a 4-year colleges. She has taken 6 AP courses in school and is doing a seventh as an independent study in AP Art History on her own, with a teacher as a supervisor (although she has not taken any AP courses in science and math). I was very concerned about the ability of students from our school to be admitted to selective colleges, but her classmates near the top of the class (of over 700 students) seem to have aimed for and been accepted to a much wider range of colleges than those of the past few graduating classes, including Penn (3), Cornell, Swarthmore, JHU, Carnegie Mellon, Michigan, Georgia Tech, and more. </p>

<p>She decided to apply ED to Kenyon and put a lot of work into her application (Kenyon has quite an extensive supplement to the Common Application with several additional short essays.) To make a long story short, she was admitted with a Distinguished Academic Scholarship, which is awarded to the top 20% of applicants. The award was definitely a total surprise, since I had believed that merit scholarships were most commonly awarded to help entice students choosing between multiple schools. </p>

<p>Now - onto your questions about regrets, etc. My daughter has no regrets about Kenyon and is extremely excited about attending next year. She has said several times that she can't think of any other school she would have wanted to go to (except for a couple of times when she said she might have liked to look at the women's schools after all.) ED worked out very well for her because she has had a stress-free senior year. She is a very busy person, conscientious about school work (even now in the home stretch of senior year when no one else seems to care!), very busy with different EC commitments (music, art, school clubs, hobbies, tutoring, babysitting), and also manages a social life. So it was wonderful for her not to have to complete additional applications, revisit the other schools for interviews, worry until April, etc. I honestly don't know where she would have found the time to do all that, but I guess she would have, somehow.</p>

<p>The only person who has been having a few second thoughts about all of this is me, which is silly. (My friend calls it "buyer's remorse"). Overall, I think Kenyon will be a great place for her and she will thrive there. I guess it part of it comes from too much reading of the CC board, about the pros and cons of different schools, etc. I think some of the talk about coddling at LACs (my D does not need coddling - she is self-motivated, very organized, and conscientious, but truly enjoys personal interaction) and about how you should choose a school which will "stretch" you, not necessarily one where you are very comfortable, was starting to get to me a little bit. Also, the unexpected merit award from Kenyon made me realize that her record may have made her a good candidate for some schools where I didn't think she had a chance. Additionally, she never did an overnight at Kenyon or any of the other schools, as fall is marching band time for us and it really would have been impossible to fit into her schedule. Another slight concern for me is that my daughter wants a social life which doesn't revolve around excessive drinking, and a lot has been written about the alcohol-centered social scene at many small LACs, inluding Kenyon. My daughter does not read CC or dwell on decisions once they have been made, so none of these thoughts have been conveyed to her, fortunately. </p>

<p>But, overall, from my point of view, I am hapy that she applied ED to the school which she fell in love with. I am VERY glad I didn't have to relive the experience I had with my son, who applied to nine colleges, attended three multi-day Admitted Students programs in April, and didn't choose until about April 30. That whole process took a toll on me that took a long while to get over! I'm sure if my daughter had not applied ED and had gone through the whole drawn out regular application process, I would be second guessing myself the other way and wishing she had applied ED.</p>

<p>So, I hope these thoughts are of help to you in your decision. I will be very interested to follow your posts as your D continues through this exciting process!</p>

<p>Carolyn, I think the ED decision is equal parts strategy and psychology/personality of your child. See if any of my daughter's characteristics ring a bell. She is opinionated (almost stubborn) and decisive, but still not completely grown up and full formed. She thinks many things important to high schoolers are stupid. Soph year was rough socially and emotionally because her group of girlfriends all moved away out of state, it was too late to join another group, and most of her friends and classmates are boys. Jr was tough because of all the APs and testing. By the end of junior year, she was ready to go to college.</p>

<p>Early on it was apparent that she was interested in schools where ED might offer an advantage. It was also clear to her that she had no great favorite, she could rank them, but even her "safety" school had aspects that were quite appealing. She had a vision in her head of what college would be like, and list of more objective criteria - size, location, program - as well, and ranked the schools accordingly.</p>

<p>She said something very telling to me, around last Nov - "It won't be any easier to decide if I get into all of them in the spring, because still there will be things I like and dislike about them - and I really don't know what it (a particular school) will be like until I get there!"</p>

<p>She applied ED, was accepted. The last 2 weeks leading up to decisions were painful with anxiety. There was a little recognition, she and 2 other students were accepted ED out of only 4-5 who applied ED, their acceptances were published in the parents' newsletter, and she met with the Headmaster (an Ivy attendance is a rare event at her school, probably half of those accepted, don't actually go).</p>

<p>She had about 5 minutes of regret - "yeah, it would be kind of fun to know where else, aahhh, no, forget that." But she has also had months of relief, and a much happier senior year.</p>

<p>Spring acceptances went by without a whisper, but we were gone on spring break when the word actually came out, and by that time 90% of her class knew where they were going, although most of the remaining 10%are some of her closer friends.</p>

<p>My answer is it depends. Only you know how you feel, and you know her best. Even if you strongly feel she is selling herself short, or will have too many regrets, particularly if second guessing is a trait of hers, you can only suggest she still has to make this decision for herself.</p>

<p>You are one of the wisest, strongest, best informed parents here, she will make a good decision.</p>

<p>I hesitate to post this because it brings up regrets that we wanted to put behind us. But I post as this is the whole point of cc - to share info which may be useful to others.
S was, in retrospect, not a good candidate for ED, but did apply ED. There were signs at the time that he shouldn't and we thought we addressed them carefully. We were also light years less knowledgeable than we are now, as we only discovered cc after we entered our "ED Dilemma."</p>

<p>S applied ED to one school and simultaneously EA and rolling to two others. Why do I say he was not a good candidate? Because after all of our visits, meetings with his (excellent) GC, he announced that he wanted to apply ED to "A". We discussed the why's, knew he loved it, his reasons were sound. Settled. After a day or two passed, he announced he wanted to go ED to "B." Whoa! We discussed that maybe he was not a good candidate for ED. His reasons were that "B" is ranked higher than A and that he felt he should go to the better school, rather than the one he liked best. We asked him to discuss this with his GC and follow her advice. He did discuss with a different, less experienced GC than his regular one, and decided to go forward with ED to "B." </p>

<p>After submitting the ED and EA and rolling (his ED school allowed one to apply early to other schools but not to any binding; he followed that rule), he began to receive frequent personal recruiting contacts (academically based, not athletic) from school A. It took a while for us to see the effect, but by the time the acceptances came (accepted at all), we think the further contact, further marketing, etc. had had some effect on him. Nevertheless, he did not appear conflicted and we sent in his deposit to the ED school. </p>

<p>The very day we sent in the ED deposit,and we were about to send the withdrawals to the other two, a very large merit award, which we had been too naive to ever expect he would receive (now, through CC we know better - hence my thread on schools who are generous with merit), came from A. It was then that S real preference for A became clear - separate from the pocketbook issue, but catalyzed by it.</p>

<p>It still being school vacation, we had no GC to consult and I discovered cc.
Received many informative, varied, strongly-felt and valuable opinions. When our GC returned, we had a full discussion with her. She believed clearly that S had the option to accept A, cancel the ED, based on the "adequate financial aid" exception to the binding nature of ED. She also felt that the ED school would be understanding and cooperative, as they still had EDII available and could use the slot. H and GC had discussions with school A's Director of Admissions and release was allowed (we did not ask for the deposit back :) ). Settled, but we, at least, can never be totally comfortable with not fully following the "rules."</p>

<p>I post all these details so that junior parents will see what the complications can be. We were fortunate that all has worked out well, and relations between our hs and school A are not damaged, a critical concern of ours as well as, of course, the critical concern of what is right for our son.</p>

<p>What we learned: [ul][<em>]the pressure to go ED is strong in some environments, ours included [</em>]it really is being used too much for kids who clearly do not have a true "one and only" choice but who think they would be foolish not to take advantage of it (our school, like many others, has 45-55% going EA/ED - mostly ED because few of the higher tier schools have the EA. Clearly, not all these kids have a one-and-only[<em>]families need to consider not just whether need-based aid is a factor, but whether merit-based aid could be a factor (this is where our naivete came in][</em>]I am a strong advocate of EA/rolling, but think ED should ratchet WAY down[<em>]I wish more schools would eliminate ED in favor of EA; the colleges have this all figured out; too many of us families are not as informed as the typical cc-er and we think we know what we're doing, but we don't[</em>]We had no idea that colleges would keep "recruiting" our S after the apps were in; we thought we had all the info about each by the time the apps went in; Deans writing and alums writing and students calling during the app period had a real effect[<em>]it is a rare17-year old who truly knows the one and only place for him/her; cc veterans and their kids are the likely exceptions, but we had never seen cc[</em>]the two colleges in our case were not in a consortium who have ED "agreements", but some schools do, meaning a student could lose both acceptances [<em>]some colleges will let you out of an ED if you want to go to a "lesser" school, but not an equal or higher tier - this was not our case, but is to me one more evidence of the undesirability of some colleges' use of ED[</em>] if one does go ED, all of this would be avoided by NOT applying to any EA/rolling schools, even if allowed. However, if you are deferred or rejected ED, you will miss out on those comfortable early safeties[/ul]</p>

<p>Carolyn, I doubt this has relevance to your case, but hope it is useful to others.</p>

<p>Carolyn: my d applied Ed to UVA. She was at the top of the range. However, we are out of state--and that makes a difference.</p>

<p>UVA has been her dream school for several years. We used to live in Va, so we had been to the Grounds several times before we moved.</p>

<p>Applying ED was a strategic move on her part. There are about 1000 kids in her graduating class. They rank in deciles--there were several students ranked near her who were applying. </p>

<p>UVA was clearly her first choice, however I felt that I had to do some expectation management before the decision came, to keep her happy about her other choices. She did one rolling, and four early action, and two regular decision. However the week before she got the decision, she was questioning whether she would like several other schools that she had applied to--after the applications went in. GRRRR. So I told her that we would revisit some schools if she didn't get into UVA.</p>

<p>As others have said it depends on your child. My daughter was thrilled to be accepted. Never wondered "what if." It was also very nice not to have to worry about college accpetences the last few months, senior year has been stressfull enough.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>ED was a great choice for my son. He clearly favored one school - and the adults around him all thought it was a great fit for him. ED does provide a boost in your chances at this school, although his stats put him at the high end for admission in any event, so ED was not a strategic play for him. This school was rated a "likely" for him by his school college counselor. He was not interested in taking a shot at the less likely schools on his list simply for prestige reasons - he just liked the ED school the most.</p>

<p>I encouraged him to spend the night at the school BEFORE applying ED - so that he would be sure it was the right choice - and I would recommend that others do this too.</p>

<p>He's never wavered in his enthusiasm - if anything his enthusiasm has grown over the past few months. In February we all went to watch a hockey game at the school - at one point I watched him look around at the huge crowd - hundreds of students, many dressed in the school's color and/or sweatshirts, etc. - and I'll always remember the look of pure joy on his face. He is really looking forward to being there.</p>

<p>I'm glad it worked out this way for him. Several of his friends who are now making their decisions among RD acceptances are very stressed out about it. I think my son was very lucky that the choice was so clear for him.</p>

<p>Jmmom, your story is great cautionary tale. I too have seen kids who have applied ED, EA and rolling to a number of schools and found that the non ED schools courting of them, and the fact that they are young and we all can change our minds, make them decide that they would rather go elsewhere. And if a huge merit award from the non ED school comes rolling in or notification of some dream program at a non ED school comes, it can be a true conflict. Always happens when you don't expect it. And you cannot always get out of the binding ED agreement. There are some schools that are just more strict about it than others, some highschool more rigid about those rules, and sometimes the two top choices are colleges that are both big on keeping ED rules intact. </p>

<p>And yet most of the time kids who apply ED are not doing so because it is their one and only to the heart choice, but a school they would be happy to attend and would not mind giving up the other choices. In cases where kids decide to apply early to Brown though they may like Wesleyan as much or maybe even a little more, it is a strategic move, and though not perfect, really pays off in the admissions odds and the relief of having all of this over by December. To be honest, in my case this year, I think I would have gone nuts if we had had to drag our process out to April, given the many problems and issues that have cropped up. At least some things were pretty much established by December and we had that direction mapped. And my son wavered all over the place. He literally changed his ED app to NYU on the way to the post office, and decided to go the SCEA and rolling route. </p>

<p>My older son chose to go multiple EA and rolling without a binding ED because he had no idea where he wanted to go. Whether you go ED or not, it really is a relief to have some school in your pocket in December, that I can tell you. The kids and families who had the most miserable senior years were the ones rejected ED, and were at loss in December as to what to do next, their confidence shaken whether any school would take them. </p>

<p>Also some schools reward ED/EA kids with regard to merit and financial awards (early bird gets the worm) and others penalize them. For BC, for example you HAVE to apply early to even be considered for merit. For Johns Hopkins, ED kids are not considered for a number of grants. Both of these schools are upfront about their policies but many do not mention them, and it is something you may want to directly ask. </p>

<p>The other problem with an early acceptance, which does not seem to be an issue for you, is that senioritus is often a problem with kids, but for those for whom the college process is done in December, it can be exascerbated. The college counselors have told me that so many kids are just psychologically done after first term that it's like dragging a mule to get them through the school year, to the point that they endanger that early acceptance. I am living this on several fronts at this point.</p>

<p>Carolyn, I don't think anything's wrong with applying ED to a match or sure bet-- see, I'm trying to get us all to ditch the "safety school" lingo! The schools you're looking at are not schools with Mickey Mouse academics. You of all people have done the research and know your daughter and what she needs academically. </p>

<p>As we keep saying here on CC, academics is just a part of the mix. Location, size, social scene, political bent of the student body, so many factors are involved. If the fit is right and money isn't an issue, then why not apply ED to a sure bet?</p>

<p>Trust me, the stress you'll save from December to April is worth it.</p>

<p>"safety" = "foundation" school, I love that term :).</p>

<p>ED was not an option for us, carolyn, bec. of fin. aid. However, it was good that it was not an option, as <em>even</em> her EA school turned out not to be the school of choice, as of 3 days ago -- despite the opposite assumption for the last 6 months. (The second visit to 2 competing schools, after an Early acceptance and a Regular acceptance respectively, AND after all the off-campus interviews, was the deciding factor. With all those elements factored in, she was able then to make a more considered choice. She returned this week from that visit.)</p>

<p>Maybe we're just more cautious than some other families. However, one thing that I've noticed has made the difference (& not just for her) is the maturity factor, which I've seen, too, in some of her classmates. I think some of that maturity results from the process itself (self-assessment as part of constructing the list itself, the application efforts, & the reactions to visits). Perhaps part of it is developmental. She feels truly "a year older" today than in fall of '05 --just 6 months ago-- when she was making application. And that was despite the fact that she had visited her very favorite colleges over 12 months ago, & she & I had been researching & doing broad, preliminary planning for a couple of yrs. And that is also despite the fact that she is observed by others to be esp. mature for her age to start with.</p>

<p>I seem to be the only one not in the majority here, so this is not a "recommendation," just a sharing of an experience. For us, even EA had its potential pitfalls, because the extremely heavy recruitment after acceptance almost succeeded. However, the obvious benefit of an Early acceptance was that it radically reduced her college list -- & thus her college efforts; she was able to narrow her choices to a short list, concentrating only on those. And having a more targeted list, based on <em>her</em> preferences & not on multiplying her "chances," was ultimately beneficial to the decision process itself. It reduced & clarified the features on which to base a decision.</p>

<p>As I write this, I realize that maybe for us one of the concerns is that there were so many similarities among her colleges of choice that ED would not have been the way to go even if finances were not a factor. Perhaps if the ED school in question is markedly different in one or several ways from the rest of the list, then it makes more sense. (Different other than just being the favorite.)</p>

<p>I don't know if that helps or not.</p>