Is applying Early Decision for college worth it?


Katelyn Kirby, Social Media Director


Do you know the difference between applying for Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision for college? As high school seniors nationwide finish their college applications, there are many options they must consider that can have a significant impact on where they choose to go. One of those options, applying Early Decision, has earned a controversial reputation amongst students due to debate over whether its pros outweigh the cons. I believe that applying Early Decision is extremely beneficial if you are fully committed to attending the school you’re applying to, however, it can be harmful to students who want to compare all their options. 

Unless you are currently in the college application process, you might not be familiar with the different types of applications. Early Action and Early Decision are very different things. Early Action is for students who want to get ahead of the game and receive their decisions back from colleges earlier. It is non-binding and can actually help the student’s chances of getting into their desired school as shown in an article posted by AdmissionSight which claims that “In many cases, the acceptance rate for students that apply via early action can be more than double that of students that apply via regular decision.”  

Now onto Early Decision. First of all, not all schools even offer the option to apply Early Decision. This is a binding contract with the school being applied to where the student agrees that if they are offered admission, they will 100% attend and drop all their other choices. As I stated previously, I do not think this is the most beneficial application route for students unless they are fully informed of all financial, educational, social, and other aspects of the college they are hoping to attend. Applying Early Decision restricts a student’s ability to compare financial packages from the other colleges they applied to and generally leaves very little wiggle room for the student to switch their school if they change their mind later on.   

To provide more insight on the subject I asked two Gulf Breeze High School teachers, Mr. McAuley and Mr. Olson, for their opinions on whether or not applying Early Decision is worth it. Mr. McAuley said that “I’m going to say that’s a personal question. If I know Wake Forest is where I want to go and it’s going to give me an advantage to get in there, sure. Why not? Aside from that, I would not advise it.” Mr. Olson said that “It seems to me like that benefits the school more than the student. The school is benefiting by fulfilling their quota and the student doesn’t have the option of looking elsewhere. It feels to me a little bit elitist.” 

I believe that applying Early Decision can be either beneficial or detrimental depending on the student’s specific circumstances. If you are a student reading this and are on the fence about applying Early Decision, I would recommend you take the time to consider all your options to decide what is best for you. On the contrary, if you are determined to attend a specific college and they offer it, it wouldn’t hurt you to apply through Early Decision.