Photo by Creative Ignition

Around this time of year, lots of teenagers are getting some very exciting fat envelopes and/or brief phone calls.  Yes, it's Early Decision / Early Action season, and in this age of instant gratification and high-stress admissions gamesmanship, more and more families have turned to this safe haven. After all, it increases your odds of getting in and gives you peace of mind throughout the Spring. What's not to love?

Money, mostly. The not-so-attractive facts about Early Decision are this -- it's an option that only the well-heeled can pursue, since you have to make your college choice independent of FAFSA, and there's no guarantee that your chosen school will cover the difference. True, if you can prove financial need, they'll usually meet you halfway, but then you're right back in the stress laden boat you were trying to get out of in the first place!  And in the meantime, you're waving goodbye to any potentially better offers from other schools. Since almost everyone who applies ED does so to a reach school, usually there ARE better financial packages on the table by the time April rolls around, but at that point, your only option is to say no.

Given this state of affairs, it's not surprising that some families are beginning to wonder just how binding Early Decision really is. 
The answer is, quite binding. Schools look very unfavorably on candidates who walk away from ED, and doing so can hurt not only your own reputation, but that of your brothers, sisters, counselors, and even your school.

So if you know you're going to be in a tricky financial situation, do yourself a favor and bypass Early Decision. There are still plenty of non-binding Early Action options to get you that coveted peace of mind.  And if you've already made your bed, find a way to sleep in it!  Call your school and work things out. After all, if you were in love with them enough to apply in the first place, you should be in love with them enough to attend.

Article by Ben Feuer, Photo by Owen Benson

Congratulations!  You’ve got it all figured out!  While those other OCD kids fill out one long, dull application after another, you’re saving time and effort by focusing on more ‘important’ things, like classes and Stranger Things 2, and only completing your Early Decision application.  What could possibly go wrong?  After all, they’re going to love you …

If I could give just one piece of advice to every family currently working through the college admissions process, it’s this – BE YOURSELVES. But if I could give two, my second tip would be Don’t wait until your early decision college results come in to fill out your regular decision applications. Just … don’t.

Absolutely, we hope and pray and predict that your ED school will, in fact, love you. But life doesn’t always go as planned. I’ve seen it happen a hundred times – when the deferral or ding comes from your ED school, the LAST thing you’re going to feel like doing is completing eight, ten or twelve MORE college applications. But that’s exactly what you’ll have to do. And, you’ll have to rush because by then you’ll have two weeks (or less!) to complete them, AND you’ll have to miss Christmas and New Years and ruin your winter vacation slaving away in front of a computer. And how are you going to feel then?

Don’t let this sad, sad story happen to you. Finish everything by December 1.

Struggling with time management?  Let us know, we can help.