to ED or not to ED?

<p>I've visited most of my schools, and there is one that I liked more than the others. It's not a vibe thing, though. After seeing most of them and doing a lot of thinking, I realized that it just offers me more. I'm not sure whether I decided that because it's true, or because I was thinking about it for so long that I want it to be true. Anyway -- I'll have a much better chance at this school if I apply ED, but I don't want to make a mistake and apply when it wasn't really my first choice. Anyone else ever been in this situation, where you like one school more, its' not love-at-first-sight, but you want to apply ED for all of ED's benefits? How do you decide?</p>

<p>CCers warn against applying ED if you don't have a clear first choice, but sometimes I think the idea of a "perfect fit" school is a bit quixotic. Certainly, there are those students who fall in love with certain schools, but for others, picking the school with the best resources, the best opportunities (for the student and their interests, not just some nebulous concept of endowment or "top faculty") is the best choice. </p>

<p>If this school is the best school (for you) on your list, even if it doesn't give you that warm fuzzy feeling, it may be worth it to take advantage of the ED boost. </p>

<p>That being said, you shouldn't rush into a binding agreement. Imagine receiving your ED acceptance come December. Are you happy, relieved? Or do you feel stifled, wishing you had the opportunity to see--just to see--where else you could have been accepted? </p>

<p>Some students can make the decision to apply ED even without an "OMG THIS SCHOOL IS PERFECT" feeling, simply because they are the type of students who like to get things out of the way, to make decisions quickly. Others, myself definitely included, can't make decisions to save their (our) lives. I know I need to hold every possible acceptance in my hand, breath deeply, and labor over my decision (so I'm praying to God my acceptances are few, lol). The question is, Do you?</p>

<p>To be honest, I doubt I'll "fall in love" with any school I see - I was expecting to get vibes at every school, but for the most part, my general reaction has been, "okay, I researched it and I liked it. I saw it and I still like it. I could go here and be happy." This school fits my criteria in terms of size, location, academics and curriculum, social life...the more I think about it, the more I love it. I'd also love the ego boost of finding out which schools I get into, but if I apply RD, the chances that I'll get into my top choices (which are also my tippy-top reaches) are way slim. I'm leaning towards ED...any other input? Thanks so much!</p>

<p>I'm kind of in the same boat as you. </p>

<p>What school are you talking about? I've done ten college visits and some admissions officers (like Williams) explicitly say that they don't give ed applicants a boost (the numbers are just higher because the applicants are more qualified) and stress not to apply unless you're in love with the school. Others (like UPenn) love ED applicants. Contact an admissions officer and ask if they give a preference to ED applicants.</p>

<p>It's Amherst.</p>

<p>I'm not 100% sure, but I think that the admissions officer there said that applying early isn't really a big boost there. What other schools did you visit? I recently visited Amherst in addition to many other schools, and Amherst was one of the schools I liked the least. Mainly because its biggest selling points as opposed to other liberal arts schools (the Five College Consortium, the fact that lots of cool people come in for concerts/performances) were outdone by many, many other schools.</p>

<p>A lot of other liberal arts schools....Haverford, Wesleyan, Oberlin, to name a few. I actually wasn't really sold by the whole concert thing, because...well, it's not what I'm going to make my college choices on. The consortium is a plus for me, mainly because there'll be more students around -- I'm not sure how much I'd take advantage of the additional class options, though if something came up at another school that I wanted to take, I'd definitely take advantage of it. I love the town and the large student community coupled with Amherst's individual small size; I absolutely love the open curriculum; I love their English department; I love the campus; I love the size...the other schools I've seen didn't have the clear pluses that Amherst does. I liked them all a lot, but it was hard to articulate why.</p>

<p>If you are applying to Amherst then ED won't improve your chances of admission much. </p>

<p>But if you can complete your application by October then you can apply in ED and if you can't then wait for the RD</p>

<p>Thanks, everyone! I'm still a little confused about the whole "sometimes-ED-improves-your-chances-and-sometimes-it-doesn't" thing. If the admit rate is higher for ED, then doesn't that automatically improve your chances? Sorry I'm being really stupid, but could someone explain it briefly?</p>

<p>People have told me that it's because ED applicants are generally stronger. I'm not really sure how that happens. Maybe the RD pool has lots of extremely unqualified candidates who just apply to see if they can get lucky and get in? Or maybe because the ED pool has more interest in the school, they researched it better and this came across in the essays? </p>

<p>Anyway, the only way it can hurt your chances is if your application isn't ready, you want to retake some tests after the ED app is due, or you want to show an improvement in senior year grades.</p>

<p>Okay, thanks everyone! I'm pretty sure what I'm leaning towards, but I'm going to wait to talk to my guidance counselor in September before I make any final decisions.</p>