The College Admissions Process
College admissions can be a confusing and demanding process, requiring from our students hours of work and preparation. Beyond the regular admissions process, one increasingly popular route to consider is early decision.
Although this route is considered the most convincing way to demonstrate an applicant’s interest in a school and, thus, potentially have a higher chance of being admitted, there are many different factors to consider before one decides to apply to an institution in this manner. In this blog post, we’ll define the early decision process, take a look at the pros and cons of going this route, and discuss some best practices in applying early. As always, our goal here at Moxie is to inspire serenity and confidence in each generation of college applicants. Demystifying this often overwhelming process is what we do. So, let’s get started!
What is early decision?
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) describes early decision as a process in which students make a commitment to a first-choice institution and, if admitted, they will enroll and withdraw all applications to other institutions.
For all intents and purposes, being accepted on the basis of an early decision application is binding, meaning that an applicant should be 100% sure that they are ready to attend the institution to which they are applying before submitting an application. While there are technically ways to get out of this commitment, these ways are costly and legally tricky. To avoid the hectic scenario in which you feel that you have to back out of a binding commitment, make sure that the early decision process is right for you prior to clicking “submit.”
Why apply early decision, you ask?
For one, many colleges rely quite heavily on students who commit to attend when they apply. This means that applicants who apply early decision are more likely to be admitted than their peers with similar profiles who apply at other deadlines. The commitment inherent in applying early decision can play a key role in your student’s acceptance to one of the best colleges.
According to a 2019 report released by NACAC, colleges reported higher acceptance rates for early decision applicants, compared to those who took the regular decision route. Furthermore, if your student takes the early decision route, he or she can wrap up the college search early, allowing more time to focus on the rest of high school.
How can my student apply?
With admissions materials required sooner, those considering this option should start early. It is vital for students to check the deadlines and track the milestones they need to hit to succeed in the process. Remember, all the materials that need to be submitted are the same; it’s just a matter of moving the deadlines up months in advance. That also means talking to teachers and counselors early about letters of recommendation.
But every student is different and early decision is not for everyone. If you want to learn more and find out if it’s the right move for your student, don’t hesitate to reach out.