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Is Early Decision Right for You?

Last updated October 17, 2020

If you are absolutely sure where you want to go to college, match or exceed the college's requirements, and confident that you have (or can get) the financial support you need to afford the cost of attendance, applying through early decision can greatly increase your chances of getting into the college of your choice. If an early decision plan sounds right for you, the deadline to apply with early decision is usually in November.

The benefits of early decision

  • Receive a decision on your application early, sometime in December
  • Higher chance of getting accepted when you match or exceed acceptance requirements
  • You're getting first consideration for all financial aid you're eligible for
  • You get your completed FAFSA, financial aid letter, and admission notification sooner
  • You will have more time to consider housing and prepare for college

The downsides of early decision

  • You can apply to only one college through early decision
  • If you are accepted, you must commit to attending and withdraw all applications to other colleges
  • You can not bargain or compare schools for better financial aid deals
  • Nonrefundable deposits will be due before May 1st
  • You will need to take the SAT/ACT in October or earlier for test scores to be submitted in time

You may have also heard of “early action” plans. Early action plans are when you receive an early decision to your college application, January or February, but you do not have to commit to the college until college decision day.

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