I don’t know if it benefits the school or student more, but my kiddo was so ready to be done talking and thinking about college apps and listening to me talk about college apps that she jumped on the chance to do EA wherever she could and it has greatly relieved the pressure of senior year. Definite huge emotional benefit for us with that. It was rough in September and October, but once those EA apps were in in November and the first acceptances came rolling in it was a huge load off. I would highly encourage doing as many off your list as you can EA.
ED & ED2 were not on our radar. I think once my D22 fell in love with the school that is her #1 she would have gladly done ED, but I don’t know if she even knew if they had ED or not. She had just decided it was the place for her and we are on board with it, but I always like to have a little wiggle room and ED precludes wiggle room so it doesn’t really work for my mindset. I am 99.9% sure D22 will be attending her #1 (already accepted), but that 0.1% of my brain likes having the option to turn it down and make a different choice if something should come up.
RD is just such a long angsty wait. I am really glad to not have to wait on that.
My advice is make a spreadsheet (Google Sheets is pretty easy to use) that you can share with your kiddo. And really I am not a spreadsheet person, but it just made it easier to see the pros and cons and to reorder by different priorities (distance from home, desired major, cost of attendance, chance of admittance, median ACT and SAT scores, D22’s ranking, etc).
And try to go visit some schools! If you can visit a few in the spring (who knows with COVID??) that would be great. We live in a college town and she had been to several college visits before with friends and her older sibling, but when it got to be crunch time (aka senior year) then things changed a lot. D22 had some completely different thoughts about schools at the end of junior year and also over the summer, but when August of senior year rolled around and we were able to do a few more visits just for her things started to crystallize in a new way.
She begrudgingly looked at my spreadsheet and considered some of the suggested schools I had put there and then started to give one in-state private a closer look. We were able to schedule a visit and then boom lightning struck and she fell in love with it. On paper/website it looked mildly interesting, but when we visited she was sure that was the place.
Also, if she hasn’t had a chance to do a sleep away summer program at a college I highly recommend that too. We were able to squeeze that in for D22 in the lull between variants and it really helped her see what college could be like, too. She was supposed to do it in 2020, but it was canceled so I was grateful that the 2021 camp didn’t get canceled, too.