Do Arapahoe Seniors Understand what Early Decision Is?


Maya Miserlian

As we are currently in the middle of college application season, it is important that seniors are familiar with college terms. Common terms include: The Common App, financial aid, test-optional, and early decision (or so I thought). After talking to many students, it has come to my attention that a lot of people are still unfamiliar with what the early decision process is. Moreso, students get early decision and early action confused. 

Early decision (ED) is a policy for admissions used by many institutions that is binding. This means that if the student who applied early decision gets accepted, they must withdraw any other applications, and attend that specific university. They must sign a contract when applying stating that they will stay true to this policy. On the other hand, early action is simply an early deadline for applications that results in an early admissions decision. 

You may be wondering, why would someone want to do a binding application? There are many arguments for and against applying early decision. One pro would be that there is a smaller applicant pool. Because of the binding nature, many people don’t want to apply for ED, so those who do will be competing against less applicants for admissions. Additionally, there is consistently, across the board, a higher acceptance rate for ED applicants. This is because applying ED shows one’s dedication to the school, and is very strong “demonstrated interest”, a qualification that many institutions look for. Exactly how much higher the acceptance rate is depends on the school. Finally, ED applicants are the first to receive their admissions decision, aside from people who commit to the school for a sport. Most ED deadlines are November 1st or November 15th, and admissions decisions are typically posted in mid-December. 

The two biggest downsides to applying ED are an earlier application deadline, and the binding aspect. Many people would advise against early decision, since it is seemingly putting all your eggs in one basket. However, that isn’t entirely true. Yes you are committed to the school if you get accepted, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply to other schools as backups. Many prospective students will apply to numerous institutions, one of them being an early decision application. If they get accepted to their ED school, they must attend and withdraw other applications. But if they don’t get accepted, they have many other applications already in the works. 

At some schools, it’s not too late for seniors to apply early decision! Many institutions offer EDI and EDII. EDII deadlines are typically January 1st, and will notify students by mid-February on their admissions decisions. *Disclaimer: early decision is a big deal, if you have any second thoughts, it may not be for you. Proceed with caution.*

As you can see, early decision and early action are very different, therefore it’s important not to get the two mixed up. Happy application season!