Archive for August, 2010

Are You Ready to Apply Early Decision, or for that matter Early Action?

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

It never fails. As fall approaches each year, college-bound seniors are being asked by their peers, “What schools are you applying early to?” or “What is your ED (early decision) school?” The questions are almost presumptive in tone as if applying early is the best strategy in applying to college.

Students assume they will be applying early…somewhere. Forget about the fact that they may have not even started the essays, done any substantive research into the college or have learned if it is affordable or not and how the adcoms will look at that them.

I remind them each year that if they have identified a college that it absolutely their first choice and would die if not admitted, to discuss the merits with me.  There are many different types of admission policies. Here I will discuss how to approach making the Early Decision, decision. But it is also applicable for Early Action which is often a more competitive pool in which to compete.

However, since Early Decision is a binding commitment to attend if admitted, it is important to make sure that each student considers the most important question of all. That is…Is applying Early Decision the right choice for you? Here’s a self-quiz to help you decide if you’re ready to apply Early Decision.

Answer Yes, No or Not Sure to the following questions:

1. Are you applying Early Decision mainly because you have decided that one particular college is your clear first choice?

2. If the college you’re considering for Early Decision suddenly became less prestigious, or its ranking dropped 50 points, would you still want to apply to this college Early Decision?

3. Would you still want to apply Early Decision to this college if your chances of being admitted Early Decision were the same as if you applied Regular Decision?

4. Have you visited your prospective Early Decision College at least once, and did your visit include taking a formal admissions tour rather than just walking around on your own?

5. Have you visited several other colleges, including taking their formal admissions tour rather than just walking around on your own?

6. Have you had some form of personal contact with the admissions office at your prospective Early Decision College? Have you researched the internship requirements, if any, for your prospective major?