Early Action vs. Early Decision
Many students don’t know the difference between early action and early decision or what each entails. Early decision is a good option for students who have a definite first-choice school. This is a binding application, so if the school admits you, you are committed to enrolling and have to withdraw other applications.
For early action applications, there is no binding contract. You can apply earlier and receive your admission decision in December, but you are not contracted to attend the university upon acceptance. Some schools offer an Early Action II, with later admission and decision dates. In general this means you can apply to multiple schools as early action without a binding agreement of attendance and see what other acceptances you receive, along with scholarship/financial aid packages.
The Benefits of Early Action or Early Decision
The benefits of applying early action or early decision include better chances at admission and less stress on deciding where you attend. There are often better admission rates for both groups of early applicants, and applying early decision or early action can help demonstrate your clear interest in that university. Schools are more likely to admit students who show they really want to attend, and applying early is a clear way to demonstrate this interest.
Likewise, early decision or early action applicants may find themselves less stressed over their admission decision. They can make the decision sooner because they will hear back sooner about their applications. This also helps the student focus on his or her senior year of high school more because the decision is made earlier.
The Drawbacks of Early Action or Early Decision
Both of these options require students to be ready for college applications early. This means their competitive test scores and junior year grades should show promise. If a student is not prepared and ready for the early application process, they may be hurting themselves by rushing last minute to apply early action or early decision.
Another drawback is the commitment you make for early decision. Once accepted, you must attend that university even if you fall in love with a different school, and you lose out on being able to compare financial aid offers from different colleges.
Early decision may be the best choice if you are sure you have found your best-fit school, but if not, stick to early action or work to meet the regular application deadlines. For expert college consultation services, contact College Docs at 203-330-1852. We help our students create a Personal College Action Plan and assist them with their college application essays, college search, and test preparation. Call us today to set up an appointment, or learn more about our services by exploring our website.