Applying Early Decision (ED) to one university can increase your chances of acceptance, as many schools fill between 1/3 to 1/2 of their freshman class with ED Applicants. In order to decide whether you may be a good candidate for early decision, check out the checklist below. Most schools have an ED deadline of November 1, so you need to make sure you are on top of things to be able to submit on time.
- Complete SAT, ACT and SAT Subject Tests by October – For most universities, the latest test date they will accept for standardized tests is the October test date. You should also rush your scores to your ED school, to ensure they arrive on time and do not delay the processing of your application.
- Request teacher recommendations now – Make sure you ask teachers who are writing your recommendations ASAP (now, or as soon as you return to school). Inform your teachers you will be applying ED, and make sure they know the deadline.
- Complete personal statement in August – Finishing your personal statement before you return to school in the fall will leave you more time for your studies, and for your ED supplemental essay.
- Start ED supplemental essays in early September – Universities are required to post their supplemental essays by September 1, so make sure you check the Common App or the school’s website, and start working on it as soon as you can.
- Strong grades in Year 12/ Grade 11 – If your grades were not as strong as you’d hoped last year, it may make sense to wait and apply regular decision, so that all universities can see your fall semester grades as part of your application.
- 100% commitment to attend the university you are applying to – This is the MOST important factor. Applying ED is a binding commitment, not to be taken lightly. If you are accepted by your ED choice, you need to attend. You will need to withdraw all other applications. So if your dream school does not offer ED, don’t apply to your second choice ED, since you may have regrets later. Likewise, if you’re not 100% sure of any school at this point, don’t apply ED to one school, as this may leave you without other choices.