College applicants weigh decision on whether or not to apply early

Rio Popper, Copy Editor

While some college-bound seniors haven’t yet heard back from any colleges and have no idea where they’ll be attending next year, a few have heard back and know precisely where they’ll be come September.

Many of these seniors who know where they will be going submitted their application to early action or early decision programs. Early action allows applicants to submit applications months earlier than the school’s regular submission deadline. Decisions are then returned early to the applicants. These students can then choose to attend one of the schools they hear from, or, instead, wait until they see their regularly-timed results. Early decision, on the other hand, is a binding commitment—if you apply early decision, you are legally agreeing to attend if you are admitted.

“Initially, I wanted to do early decision, but then I couldn’t narrow it down to one school, so I just applied anywhere I could early action,” said senior Jonathan Heist, who applied to several schools early action and several others Regular Decision. “Once I get my results, I’ll visit and see what seems good.”

For others who want to expedite the process, though, early decision is an attractive option.

“Early decision is a lot better for people—like me—who are entirely sure what their number one college choice is,” said senior Jared Mejia, who was accepted to Pomona College, early decision. “I was really eager to figure out where I was going.”

Because the regular admission decision notification period can be very stressful for college- hopefuls, both early action and early decision can help alleviate college-related stress.

“It helps to know that evenif something goes wrong, you’re still going somewhere,” Heist said. “[Getting in early action] relieves stress around first-semester grades because they aren’t considered for early action applications.”

Getting in early, and even knowing where one will matriculate, does not necessarily lower workload, though.

“Most students have been working really hard to get to where they are,” Mejia said. “Once you get that acceptance, it’s not like that just drops off immediately. There’s always that fear—even though it’s super unlikely—that you get your application rescinded.”

For others, regular decision makes more sense because balancing classes and college apps during the beginning of senior year can be difficult.

“I was still getting used to having more than four IB classes, and I felt like it was too late to do both my classes and apply to college at the same time, so I decided to apply Regular,” senior Felicitas Etu said.

For senior Sunaina Butler, who didn’t apply anywhere early, it was a question of rushing her senior experience.

“Senior year happens too fast,” she said. “I wasn’t ready.”