By Sarah Wright
1. No Wait-List Limbo
Applying for regular decision admission doesn't necessarily mean that your only two options are rejection or acceptance. Some schools also use a wait list, putting lower-tier acceptance priorities on the back burner until the up-front acceptees have made their final decisions. If there are enough spaces available in the freshman class after all the responses to acceptance offers have been processed, wait list students may be offered acceptance. This means that you could still be waiting to hear from your dream school well after high school graduation.
Early decision typically offers only two options - acceptance or rejection. If you have your heart set on a single school, applying early can remove the possibility that you'll end up in the purgatory of waitlisted status.
2. Show You're Serious
Early-decision admission is also typically binding, meaning that the school will expect you to accept their offer of attendance if it is extended to you - it's not the time for wishy-washiness. If you want to make a more-than-symbolic gesture to show the admissions board at your school of choice how serious you are about wanting to attend their school, early-decision admission is a great choice.
3. Time Efficiency
Depending on the policy of the specific school, you could end up having an acceptance or rejection confirmation before regular-decision deadlines expire at most schools. This means that you may be able to save time and energy by only worrying about a single college application. Plus, you could also save yourself a few hundred dollars by only submitting a single application fee.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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- Visual and Performing Arts
4. Decreased Anxiety
For a lot of people, the college application process is fraught with anxiety from beginning to end. Every aspect, from choosing the right school to filling out applications, from waiting to hear back from schools and ultimately deciding which one you'll attend, is bound to cause at least some stress and worry in all but the most laid-back students. Applying early-decision can't eliminate this stress - you'll still have to fill out an application and wait to hear back - but it can help to reduce the duration of anxiousness. Your entire college application can theoretically be over and done with before the second semester of your senior year if you apply early decision and are accepted.
It's hard to start thinking about what classes you want to take until you know which of the schools you've chosen will end up being the one you attend. Finding out sooner - and having the security of an early-decision acceptance - can give you time to start planning and preparing for your freshman year of college. It'll allow you time to peruse the college course catalog and get more information about the departments you're most interested in. This head start can help you get a solid academic footing sooner than most of your peers.
The chance to avoid admissions waitlists might be enough motivation to apply early.