Applying early decision is a good choice for students who already have a good understanding of how they will afford college and are completely sure about where they want to go. Similar to early action, early decision applicants apply in November and can be accepted, denied or deferred.
The biggest difference between early action and early decision is that early decision applications are binding, which means if a student is admitted, they are obligated to attend. Therefore, students often feel forced to accept the financial aid package they have been provided.
Unfortunately, this means that students are unable to compare the cost of going to different schools and are unable to leverage offers from other colleges for more funds.
"I always encourage students to apply ED if and only if the school they've chosen is their unquestioned first choice," says Fisher.
Perhaps the biggest perk of applying to college early decision is that it can often increase a student's chances of getting accepted. "Early decision comes with a pretty big benefit for applicants," explains Fisher. "Places like Duke and Northwestern, for example, admit close to half of their freshman class in the early decision round."
"Of course, students shouldn't be so blinded by the advantage of early decision admission that they ignore that important stipulation," warns Fisher. "You're bound to attend."
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