Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - Early Decision vs. Early Action
The early bird catches the worm, but what worm are you focusing on, early action or early decision? Do you know the difference?
Early decision is a BINDING commitment to a college/university. That means that if you are accepted, you agree to attend (most schools make this financial binding which means regardless of what your personal finances are or any aid that you receive, you will still attend the school). Why make this huge commitment so early in the application season? Because your chances of getting in dramatically increase. You are telling a school that you want to go there, it's your first choice and they like that! Not because they are flattered that you have chosen them but because college rankings and prestige are often based on the number of students enrolled compared to those accepted. Knowing that you are a sure thing, helps elevate a school's profile. Plus, if a student is willing to forego all other schools to attend one particular university, a school can be fairly confident that student will stay for the full four years and be a productive member of campus.
Early action means that you want to get your application in as early as possible. Many schools will only use "academic merit" (grades and test scores) when reviewing these applications. You have to be on the upper end of their profile to be accepted (or fit need - demographics, geography etc.). If you don't make it in during early action, your application is usually deferred to the regular decision group and your complete application (essays, letters of recommendation etc.) will also be considered. Why apply early action? First, it's nice to have your applications done and perhaps at least one acceptance early on to take the pressure off your senior year. Second, some schools accept up to 90% of their incoming class during early action. If you wait for regular decision deadlines, there may not be many spots left.
What are you waiting for? Start the "early" applications now!