College admissions advice: early decision vs. regular decision - 2

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College admissions advice: early decision vs. regular decision - 2

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Another option early is early decision. And early decision is much different. Early decision is binding. And that is contractually binding. If you apply early decision somewhere, and they admit you, you have to go there. You are obligated contractually. And you should not break that contract. You should go there. So the only time to apply early decision in my opinion is if a student is really in love with a school. That's where they want to be. That's where they want to go. And if they apply early decision and get in, they're thrilled with that, they're done with the process. And they can move forward really enjoying their senior year; hopefully, still learning, still doing their academics, but it takes some of the pressure off. The drawback to early decision is that it is binding. And if students aren't really in love with the school and don't really want to go there, there isn't a lot of benefit to going early decision, because you may be obligated to go somewhere you don't want to be. So in that case, I advise either early action or regular decision, neither of which is binding, both of which you can leave your options open for. There are potentially benefits to applying early to a school, particularly early decision, because what you're signalling to the school is, I love you, and I want you to love me back. And that can make a difference for some schools. They want students on their campus who really want to be there. So early decision is that signal to colleges. For that reason, traditionally applying early has sometimes given students a better chance of getting in. The admissions numbers were a little bit better, a little bit easier to get in if you applied early. I think some of that benefit is going away now. It still exists, but it's less. And that's because so many more students are applying early now than used to be. Five years ago we had maybe 30% of our students applying early - either early action or early decision. This year, we're probably going to have 80% of our seniors applying either early action or early decision. And that's a phenomenon that's happening all across the United States. And what that means is that the benefit to applying early is a little bit less now.
TEEN, Education, Applying to College

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Robert K. Cooke, MEd

Upper School Director

Robert has been in K-12 education for thirty years; for sixteen years he was a high school history and social studies teacher, teaching subjects such as AP US History, Western Civilization, World History, Economics, and Anthropology. His school administrative career has been equally varied, serving as Director of Activities at a large public high school, and a Middle School Director and Upper School Director at independent (private) schools in the Midwest and California. Robert earned his Bachelor's Degree in History from Carleton College, and his Master's in Education from Claremont Graduate University. He is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Robert has served on school accreditation teams in the Midwest and California. He has two children, one of whom is an acting and English Literature double major at a large urban university on the East Coast, while the other is a high school junior in Los Angeles.

 

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