1. What is Early Decision exactly?
Early Decision is an early application option available to students who have discovered their first choice College or University. Typically the application deadlines for Early Decision are in early November and December. Applying to a school Early Decision is also a binding application. An additional form called the Early Decision Agreement must also be submitted by the applicant in order to apply. This agreement states that “students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll.” (2010-2011 Early Decision Agreement) students will be notified of their admission decision in December or January. This could mean that, if admitted to their first choice school, students could be finished with the college admission process by mid-February.
2. How do I know if I should apply Early Decision?
If a student is certain that a school is their first choice and they want to attend that institution more than any other they should apply Early Decision. This is typically the result of extensive research and in most cases a visit to the campus. It is very difficult to determine if a school is your first choice and you want to apply Early Decision without visiting the campus and experiencing it for yourself. If a school is your number one choice but you cannot commit to it above all other schools then you should consider not applying Early Decision.
3. Can I apply to other schools?
Students applying Early Decision can only have one Early Decision application pending at one time. Students are encouraged to prepare applications and submit them to additional schools for Regular Decision or Early Action as a precaution in case they are not offered admission to the school at which they applied Early Decision. You can think about it this way, if you were to apply to two schools Early Decision and were accepted to both, how could you be in two places at once come next fall?
4. What is the benefit of applying Early Decision?
The true benefit of applying Early Decision is you have the potential of being finished with the college application process by mid-February and you will be accepted by your first-choice school. While some acceptance rates are higher in Early Decision then Regular Decision, that is not the primary reason to apply Early Decision.
5. Will my financial aid be better if I apply Early Decision?
At Whitman College, a student’s need based financial aid package is in no way influenced by the application deadline they use for admission. All admitted students can expect to see an identical financial aid package when applying for Early Decision or Regular Decision. No preference is given to Early Decision applicants in regards to financial aid.