In today’s competitive college admissions climate, many students would jump at the opportunity to double, triple, or even quadruple their chances of admission to a college high on their list. Such a way exists—it’s called Early Decision (ED), and it can be a great strategy for many students. Applying ED isn’t appropriate for everyone, but understanding how this decision plan works can help families evaluate whether it’s a viable and desirable option.
With nearly 4,000 four-year colleges in the United States alone, creating a college list can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming. In the process of identifying universities that fit their interests and goals, many students initially default to schools they already know, perhaps through their families, older friends, or sports.