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Applying to College Early Decision
Q: A lot of our friends' kids are applying to colleges "early decision." Could you tell me the pros and cons of this approach?
A: First, know that the admission standards for early decision are higher than the regular admission standards of a college. Whether or not early decision is right for your son or daughter depends on several considerations. It's important to carefully study the profiles of students who are accepted under the early-decision process to determine if your child has a strong chance for acceptance at a given school.
Students who plan on applying early decision must begin working on their application essays and begin requesting recommendations very early on in the year. An important concern is to be sure that the student completes all of the admission tests (SATs or ACTs) before these early deadlines.
It's important to remember that a student must be ready to make a decision when the offer(s) from early decision arrive. Most colleges and universities will want a commitment prior to the deadline that is used for regular admission candidates. Students who are not accepted for early decision customarily go into the pool for consideration for regular admission.
Early decision plays an important role in the college admissions process today. It can be a wonderful option for the right student. The key is to look at the pros and cons and make the best decision possible about whether this choice is best for your child.
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Del Antaki has worked as a counselor at the junior high, middle, and high school levels for many years. Before becoming a school counselor, she taught mathematics and English.