All About Applying Early Decision

On a typical Monday morning, as a typical high school senior student, you make your way to the bus stop (or you get into your own car, or a friend picks you up, or you walk to school, whatever). No matter how you got there, you are now sitting down in your first period class. Everyone is excitedly talking around you; in fact, everyone seems a little too excited for a Monday morning. You decide to listen in on the conversations and quickly realize that everyone is talking about the same thing: college applications.

Yep, the college application season is here.

Panic GIF

First of all, don’t panic. Everyone goes through this process, and if I did it, you can too. Before starting anything, however, you should know that there are many different types of college applications and options you can choose from. One option I’m going to tell you about is early decision applications.

Applying early decision (ED) to a college basically means that you are bound to the college—if you are accepted, you must attend the school. This is different from early action, which is when you apply early and receive your results early but do not have to commit to that particular school. Some schools offer both early decision and early action applications, while some offer only one option. At the University of Rochester, one can only choose between Early Decision and Regular Decision.

As someone who decided to apply Early Decision to the University of Rochester and went through the application process that was slightly different from most people, I want to tell everyone who is applying for colleges right now: do not be afraid of early decision. Yes, the word “binding” sounds scary. Yes, you do have to pick only one school to apply early decision to. And yes, the deadline is way earlier than you expected. But there are so many positive qualities and advantages that come with applying early decision to the school that people often forget about.

For one, you can be done with the entire college application process by mid-December. While students who apply regular decision to schools have to anxiously wait for their response until April, you can be done before winter break! All that stress that comes with writing college essays, finishing the Common App, and let’s not forget about the overwhelming anxiety that comes with just waiting for the response—all of that can disappear for you months before it will for everybody else. I remember I spent my second semester of senior year going to Starbucks and basically not worrying about anything while everyone else around me struggled with college applications. That could be you.

Another advantage that comes with applying early decision is that your chance of being accepted may be greater than your chance of being accepted if you apply regular decision. There is usually a smaller number of early decision applicants, so your chance of being accepted is higher. Also, applying early decision demonstrates your strong interest and passion for the school. Why else would you bind yourself to the school if you didn’t love it? If you really love a school and can’t imagine being anywhere else, then I highly recommend you apply early decision to increase your chance of getting in!

In my next post, I talk about my personal experience of applying Early Decision to the University of Rochester specifically, and explain why and how I made that decision.

About the author

YooJung Chun

I'm a member of the Class of 2018, and I am majoring in art history. I was born in Seoul, South Korea, before moving to Chicago. I'm the Publicity Chair for the Korean American Students' Association, and I also take piano lessons at the Eastman School of Music.

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