Early Decision Quiz
I am frequently asked by students whether or not they should apply Early Decision. Below are some basic questions to ask before making that decision.
1) I investigated Vanderbilt University and the Commodore experience in the following ways:
- On Vanderbilt University Undergraduate Admissions website
- I talked to an admissions representative at a local college fair or high school event
- I’ve explored the 330 acres of campus in Nashville, Tennessee on a campus tour or through the ‘Dore for a Day event
- Are you kidding me?! All of the above!
2) After investigation of the campus and undergraduate experience, Vanderbilt is….
- One of many great options for college; I found myself fitting in at several colleges and I am excited by all of the possibilities
- Among my top choices, but not necessarily at the top
- The place I found my best fit – I can completely imagine myself walking from the Commons to class every day
- I’ve owned a Vanderbilt football jersey since the day I was born; I don’t even want to think about a second choice school
3) Which item best describes your understanding of your personal financial situation and how it relates to financing a Vanderbilt education?
- Money? Financing? Huh? My parents deal with that stuff.
- Vanderbilt is big investment; I’m going to fill out the financial aid paperwork and the scholarship applications then see what happens…
- I’ve talked to my parents about our financial situation and, given our situation, we need to have an official financial aid package before making any commitments to a particular college
- My parents and I talked reviewed financial aid information together, discussed expectations, and based on a family conversation feel that Vanderbilt is an affordable option given the extensive financial aid and our personal situation
4) The primary reason I’m considering Early Decision is…
- I’ve heard it’s “impossible” to be admitted through regular decision
- Because everyone at my high school is applying somewhere Early Decision
- I want to get the college application process over before the holidays
- Vanderbilt is my top choice school and I know that I want to be there over all other choices
5) To me, I interpret the “binding commitment” portion of Early Decision as…
- Similar to a life-in-prison sentence: how am I supposed to make such a commitment this early in the year?
- A commitment I can get out of; if along the way I no longer consider Vanderbilt a top choice, no big deal
- A tad bit stressful, I’ve previously never made a decision this important
- Easy. I view it as Vanderbilt making a “binding commitment” to me
You should consider Early Decision at Vanderbilt if you answered …
1) 3 or 4: You really need to experience our community to know if you could form a bond. We offer many different ways to interact with us here, not just the standard information session and tour (although we definitely have tons of those).
2) 3 or 4: Only apply Early Decision if every other school pales in comparison. You never want to sign an Early Decision Agreement and then realize you want to go somewhere else. Most of our class (approximately two-thirds) comes through regular decision because it’s the best option for most of our students. Early decision is a great option, though, if we’re far and above you’re number one choice.
3) 4: Although you will have an estimated financial aid package with your Early Decision acceptance letter, you will not receive an official package until April. Families need to have frank conversations about who is paying for college and how much they’re willing to spend. Get a financial aid estimate and review our financial aid commitments. If you’re comfortable with your financial situation after doing so, then Early Decision is a good option.
4) 4: Yes, there is a statistical advantage to Early Decision. For Fall 2010 admission, the overall admit rate was 17.9 percent; the Early Decision admit rate was 32.5 percent. However, those numbers don’t reflect the true nature of the applicant pools. Early Decision students are highly qualified and highly enthusiastic applicants who receive consideration amongst a smaller pool of students; thus, the higher admit rate. Never apply Early Decision just because it appears “easier”. Also, not everyone is applying Early Decision somewhere. Most students in America aren’t, in fact, applying via a binding commitment. Finally, it is wonderful to finish the process by the holidays (if you’re fortunate enough to receive acceptance), but make sure there’s another reason you’re applying Early Decision as well.
5) 3 or 4: The Early Decision Agreement is slightly intimidating to most of my students and their families. It’s a big decision and the biggest decision to-date for most of you. Feeling stressed at times is normal. Make sure, though, when you finally do make that commitment that you are comfortable with that decision. If you never reach a point where you’re at ease, then don’t choose Early Decision.
Questions? Post below.