4 important reasons to avoid an early decision if you need financial help
Even if apply the advance ruling (ED) allows you to be informed very early about your admission decision, but this has a problem: if you are accepted, you have to attend school. This binding agreement poses problems for students who need financial assistance.
If you are looking to compare financial aid from multiple colleges, this early admission approach may not be for you. Consider these drawbacks before deciding which admission deadline is best for you.
When you choose ED, you are applying to only one college for an early ruling in the fall. You agree to attend this school if you enter, and you usually receive your admission decision in December. Instead of stressing out about college decisions in the spring, you might already know you’ve entered the school of your dreams.
However, you will not have the chance to compare financial aid with this approach.
“The biggest downside – and this is especially important for students who really depend on financial aid to pay for schools – is that they don’t have the ability to compare offers when they apply an early decision. “said Anna Ren, admissions consultant at the university.
You will only have one offer, and you will have to take it or leave it. If the financial assistance is insufficient, you will have to either take out student loans or break your binding agreement and choose not to attend this school. Fortunately, students can usually decline an ED offer if the financial aid is insufficient.
“If the net cost of college is totally unaffordable, you can ask the admissions committee to release you,” said Shirag Shemmassian, founder of Shemmassian Academic Consulting. “Colleges are generally kind about it. “
But once you decline admission, your offer disappears. You’ll never see how your dream school financial aid compares to that of the other colleges on your list.
If you care about a particular school, implementing an early decision is one way to show your enthusiasm. With this approach, you agree to attend if you enter.
Since colleges want students to accept offers of admission, they might prefer ED applicants for this reason. But colleges do not have as much incentive to award merit scholarships to ED applicants.
“The conventional wisdom is that students who need to get the best financial aid package possible shouldn’t make an early decision,” said Michelle Kretzschmar, founder of DIY College Rankings.
“And that’s pretty much true, especially for merit aid,” she added. “If a college knows you really want to attend, they have no reason to offer an incentive (or a discount, because that is what it really is) to attend.”
Aaron Rose, president of Mavin Learning Resources, echoed this sentiment. “Most colleges use merit aid to attract excellent students, and it is not necessary for colleges to offer merit aid to students applying to the ED because they are already committed to attending. if they are accepted, ”Rose said.
When you enter a school by early decision, you might reduce your chances of getting a merit scholarship.
In addition to financial aid, you are probably scholarship search to help you reduce your university fees. The problem is that some scholarship organizations only notify students of their scholarships in the spring of their final year.
With ED, you need to accept a school’s offer long before the typical May 1 decision day. For low-income students, this deadline might be too rushed to make a decision about college.
If you rely on scholarship to pay university, applying an early decision might not be a smart financial decision.
Statistics show that ED applicants are accepted at a higher rate than regular applicants. According to Inside higher education, Harvard accepted 14.9% of its early ruling applicants into the 2020 class, compared to just 3.4% of its regular ruling applicants.
However, the ED pool tends to include highly qualified applicants who can present strong applications in the fall of the final year.
“The pool of applicants is much more competitive,” said Pam Andrews, founder of The Scholarship Shark. “Because the early decision-making process counts the most competitive candidates, it is more difficult to make a candidate stand out. “
If you are in a rush to apply, you are probably better off waiting for a later deadline. While applying the ED may work in your favor, it could also hurt you if you submit a below average request just to meet an early deadline.
Is Applying an Advance Ruling Right For You?
Most experts agree that DE offers a higher chance of being accepted into a school. But applying an advance ruling also prevents you from comparing multiple financial aids.
If you want to apply an advance ruling, make sure these four statements are true for you:
- You are ready to apply. DE maturities usually fall in November. If your try, letters of recommendation or the test results would be stronger in a month or two, you’d probably be better off waiting for a regular decision.
- You have confidence in the school of your dreams. Since the advance ruling is binding, you need to be sure that you want to attend the college you are applying to. If you are unsure, take early action or a regular decision instead.
- You’ve done your financial aid homework. Even if you can’t compare financial aid offers, you can estimate your financial aid package. Use the college net price calculator or the Federal tool FAFSA4caster to plan your help as needed. But remember, this tool doesn’t take into account any merit-based help you might get.
- You are ready to apply elsewhere if your financial aid program is insufficient. Even if the advance ruling is binding, you can refuse the offer if the insufficient financial support. Make sure you’re ready to send in more nominations, just in case.
While it’s easy to focus on a particular college, don’t forget about financial aid. Ultimately, the school of your dreams shouldn’t just give you an amazing education, it should help you too. avoid large student debt.