With college applications coming due in the next few months, many students are trying to decide when to apply. Although some selective colleges have eliminated early decision in the past few years, many colleges still have early decision as an option.
So, how do you decide if early decision is right for you? Early decision is most appropriate for those students who have a clear first choice and for whom financial aid is not a concern. If you are trying to decide between two or more colleges, early decision is NOT a good option for you.
Early decision can provide a substantial benefit to students who apply early. Studies have shown that on average, early decision adds about 100 SAT points to your SAT average. Colleges will often say that the students who apply early decision are stronger students than the typical applicant but in reality this is generally not really the case.
To see what benefit students can gain from applying early decision look at this list of colleges where applying early decision helps.
If financial aid is a concern for you then you have more work to do before you consider applying early decision. You must understand how financial aid works and have a very good idea of what type of aid you are likely to receive if you are accepted.
Some colleges will have a calculator on line that will give you an early estimate of your financial aid award. Even if the college has such a calculator, I strongly suggest you consider contacting the financial aid office at the college you are considering applying to early decision. Ask if they can give you an estimate of your financial aid award if you are accepted.
Early decision is most certainly not for everyone, but for some students, this is a great option to use when applying to college.