Early Decision

What is early decision?

Early decision is a binding agreement between a student and an institution of higher education in which the student agrees that they will attend the school if offered early admission.

Students can only apply to one institution under the early decision application process. The deadline to apply is generally around November 1.

Early decision applicants are notified of a school’s decision in December. If accepted for admission, the student must withdraw all other applications and send a non-refundable deposit to the school of their choice before May 1.

What happens if applicants are not accepted through the early decision application process?

If a student is not accepted through the early decision application process, they will either be rejected or deferred.

Unlike early decision applications, early action is not a binding commitment to enroll, and candidates can decline a school’s offer if accepted.

Rejected early decision applicants may then choose to apply to other institutions through the regular application process or reapply to the same institution the following year.

An institution may reconsider deferred early decision applicants during the second round of candidates or the regular admission period. Applicants with a deferred status are released from their binding agreement and may also choose to apply to other schools.

What types of students should apply through early decision?

Early decision is perfect for prepared applicants who are confident of their commitment to their first-choice school.

Early decision applicants typically:
  • Talk to teachers early (around halfway through their junior year of high school) about letters of recommendation
  • Thoroughly research the college or university of their choice and are sure that they will fit in academically and socially
  • Take their Student Aptitude Test (SAT) by October of their application year

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