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Early Decision Demystified

By Jay Jacobs

Early Decision Demystified

By Jay Jacobs
Have questions about applying Early Decision? Unsure if it's the right choice for you? Get the answers straight from Jay Jacobs, the Director of Enrollment and Admission Operations at the University of Miami!

Many of you have heard or think that you absolutely must apply Early Decision (ED) in order to increase your chances of admission. I would argue that you only absolutely must apply ED the same way you absolutely must buy that new phone or new car! All of these are somewhat significant commitments and, if you’re anything like me, commitment is scary. I hate signing one-year leases on apartments; it took me months to buy my car; and I only purchased a new phone because my screen was shattered.

You would only do any of these things if you are 1,000% (not just 100%) sure that it is the right decision. Same goes for Early Decision. You’ve done your research, you’ve asked your questions, and you’ve come to an informed, educated, and sound decision that [insert college/university here] is the perfect place for you.

Here are some of the most popular questions that we get regarding ED and here are my true and honest answers:

1. Will applying Early Decision (ED) help me get admitted?

ED admission rates are typically higher than any other application option that you can choose. The reason? We want students at UM who want to be at UM. There is no better way to tell us that UM is your first choice than applying ED. We still assess all the aspects of the application discussed in our Chat with Charles series. But we add your interest level to this assessment!

2. How will being admitted ED impact my scholarship and financial aid awards?

It won’t. All applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships. If you submit a complete application for financial aid by the deadline, you will also receive all of the grants (free money!) and loans that you are eligible for. Do your research here. Use our Net Price Calculator and have frank and honest discussions with those who are going to help fund your education.

3. Why should I apply ED?

Besides the higher admission rates, you will also hear your decision much earlier than the rest of our applicant pool. (We get our EDI decisions to applicants before the New Year!) You can go into the spring of your senior year with the weight of the college admission and decision process off of your shoulders.

4. This sounds too good to be true; what’s the catch?

Ahhh…the best question yet, dear reader! You should only apply ED if you can say without a doubt in the world that you will enroll in UM if admitted. This means you need to have serious conversations with your college guidance counselor and your parents (who need to sign the ED Agreement form anyway) to make sure this is the right decision for you. You (and whoever is paying for college) have to be comfortable making this decision without first seeing what we offer you in merit scholarships and financial aid. That’s the catch.

Okay…you’ve gotten this far, so you must be considering ED. A few more things you should know:

  • Your ED application could have three decisions (same as our non-binding Early Action option, by the way):
    • Admitted (Yay! Congrats! See you in August!)
       
    • No offer of admission 
    • Defer: this isn’t really a decision; we will reassess your application, with a blank slate, in our Regular Decision pool in February and you will hear your final admission decision by April 1.
  • You can and should still apply to other schools through their Early Action or Regular Decision options. You are only allowed to apply ED to one school.
  • After you are admitted ED, you should withdraw your application from any other school you have applied to. Shoot your admission counselor an email. They will be very happy for you, believe me!
  • What if you don’t get the scholarship and financial aid package you thought you were going to get? Call your admission counselor or the financial aid office immediately!

I hope this helped clear up the Early Decision option and alleviated some of the stress surrounding your application process. Good luck and enjoy it!

Jay Jacobs is the Director of Enrollment and Admission Operations at the University of Miami.