Point: Is early decision a good option for college applications?

Emilia Charno, Opinions Editor

College. A cringe-worthy word for current seniors drowning in the infamous Common Application. Despite a plethora of information and help from Schreiber’s Guidance Department, the application process can be confusing, nerve-wracking, and downright scary.

With the transition from summer to senior year in full swing, many members of the class of 2017 feel entirely overwhelmed by the daily grind of homework as well as the looming prospect of life after high school.

To underclassmen or those unfamiliar with the process, there are numerous paths to college decision-making and ultimate acceptance. Aside from the task of funding college attendance, students in conjunction with their families must decide which admissions path to pursue. Some common options include Early Decision, Non-binding Early Action, and Regular Decision, commonly known as “ED”, “EA” and “RD.”

Early Decision at colleges is an intriguing concept for many. Under this option, students submit their applications and necessary scores to colleges by November 1. Students are then informed by mid-December of the college or university’s acceptance decision, three or four months before those applying Regular Decision. In the midst of an overwhelming year, these few months can be truly necessary for a healthy mental state.

The most important, and perhaps most daunting, aspect of the ED application is the binding contract one makes with the institution. Essentially, in exchange for expressing a great amount of interest in a school and applying in a smaller applicant pool to increase odds of admission, one is bound to attend the school if accepted under this option.  Naturally, this option is not for everyone.

“I can’t make commitments, are you kidding me? Regular decision is a much better fit for me, I think,” said senior Amanda Wong.

However, for students who have thoughtfully and genuinely flushed out where they truly want to go to college, ED is an incredibly appealing and logical way to reach this goal.

“If it’s been your dream school for years, then I think it would be a good thing to apply Early Decision,” said senior Lauren Rosen.

From the perspectives of colleges and universities, ED applicants are similarly appealing in that they are expressing so much interest in a school that they are willingly applying under a binding contract. In this way, students can increase their chances of attending more of a reach school.

“I won’t get in otherwise,” said senior Rudy Malcolm. “When you have a four times greater chance getting in ED, why would you apply regular?”

In reality, the majority of students pursue Regular Decision, which is exactly that: a regular admissions process. This path requires students to submit all application materials by early January. In this way, students can who are unsure about where to go to college have more time to finish the large amount of work that comes with college admissions as well as explore all of their options in a non-binding way. Another way to do this is through Early Action, which shares the early deadline of ED and the non-binding clause of RD.

For students set on certain schools, and who are willing to finish their applications in a much stricter time constraint, ED is certainly an option worth considering.

“When I realized I had a place that was absolutely where I wanted to go and met all of the criteria I had in mind, I just got tunnel vision,” said senior Anna Cohen. “It all kind of clicked for me.”

All that said, the college process gets a lot of hype. It is scary and important, yes, but exciting and important as well. The most important thing is that each senior chooses the schools and admissions paths that best work for them. And hey, if you fall head over heels for a school, no matter what the outcome, it is always an adventure to follow your gut. Best of luck!