In the college process there are rarely constants. The number of applications to schools has been rising, as is the use of the Common App. However, one trend that has particularly taken hold at Pace is the use of early decision (ED) by a growing number of students. Early decision, for those naive underclassmen who will soon know the pains of college apps, is a binding contract that is made with a college that you are absolutely sure you want to go to. Essentially, one sends in his or her application early (by the first of November, typically), and hears a decision (yes, no, or deferral) by mid-December. When one applies early decision to a school, if accepted, they MUST attend that college, with the only exception being financial hardship or inability to afford that school. This is different from early action, which is non-binding, but which also allows students to apply to and hear back from schools at an earlier date than regular decision.
This year, 35 members of the senior class (out of 86) applied early decision (ED and EDII) to 17 different schools. These included schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, William & Mary, Vanderbilt, Washington University in St. Louis, Brown University, Northwestern University, and Emory University. Overall, the class of 2012 has done very well. According to Director of College Counseling Gavin Bradley, of those 35 seniors, 21 students were admitted, five were deferred to be considered regular decision, five were denied, and four have yet to hear back. It is true that applying ED gives students a slight advantage when applying to selective schools because they know that you will attend if they accept you. For juniors, however, one should not apply ED to a school that isn’t a first choice just to get a leg-up on the competition. It is purely intended for people who are positive they want to spend the next four years at that college.
Applying early gives an added sense of relief to a very busy senior year of high school, and can take a tremendous weight off of one’s shoulders and provide a sense of security, since ED students generally know before second semester where they will be attending college. Senior Hannah Hoff, who applied ED and was accepted to William & Mary, said that “it was great to feel secure in my choice, but it was daunting because you’re committed and can’t change your mind.”
By Cal Harris, Staff Writer ’13