The Risks of Applying Early Decision

Many students as well as their parents believe that if they apply Early Decision they have an “advantage” given the higher admit rate over regular decision. However, given Early Decision is a binding choice, where students MUST enroll (legal but is it constitutional?) If admitted, considering the pros and cons therefore is prudent. 

While the percentage of students admitted from the early application pools is greater than the Regular Decision pool, few students know the number of recruited athletes and legacies (who typically have an advantage in admissions) are in the pool, which would skew admitted percentages higher. And, admissions officers rarely divulge such detailed information about the diversity of those admitted

Additionally, students most likely to apply early are to be the top, I mean peaky top, of their class—4.0+, more like 5.0+ GPA’s, an accumulation of various and sophisticated extracurricular activities, and demonstrated leadership. So, an early applicant, although a prize in a local context, in joining a globally sourced pool of other prized students, risks outright rejection if applying early. 

Yet, as early admissions deadlines are typically two months prior to Regular Decision deadlines, early applicants have less time to consider the meaning of their lives when drafting their quintessential autobiography, thus may submit a less than thoroughly refined narrative, therefore potentially less distinguished amongst a highly qualified pool of global applicants, possibly degrading any advantages by applying early. 

Furthermore, by applying early and reducing the opportunity for a teenager, who’s on the cusp of adulthood, to analyze the meaning of their lives in order to define their life’s purpose, based on a greater confidence in their aptitude, families increase the risk of malinvestment in college, possibly, albeit unintentionally, stymying a young person’s chance at obtaining prosperity. 

Lastly, in considering applying early or not, students should endeavor to select a college where they will most likely discover more about an aptitude, connect with mentors and peers, and with whom together we’ll manifest a lasting prosperity for all!

Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students (re)discover their aptitude, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college admissions process. For more information, please contact us

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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