Early Decision and Early Action Questionnaire

Deciding About Early Decision and Early Action

Early Decision Self-Evaluation Questionnaire*   Printable Version

Answer the following questions to decide whether or not to apply early to a particular school. If you answer yes to every question, consider applying ED. If you answer one or more questions with a no, consider applying EA or regular decision.





Have I completely researched this college and other colleges that interest me?



Have I visited this college while classes are in session and met with someone at the admissions office?



Have I explored my academic, extracurricular, and social options at this college?



Have I talked with a financial aid officer to get an estimate of college costs and to find out how early decision could affect my aid package?



Have I discussed this decision with my family and guidance counselor?



Is this a true first choice, or do other colleges still interest me?



*Excerpted from NACAC's Steps to College online newsletter


Pros and Cons of Applying to College Early



·       Bypass regular spring notification deadline

·       Avoid cost of submitting multiple applications

·       Reduce time spent waiting for a decision

·       Have to deal with less stress if accepted

·       May increase chances of getting into top schools and greatly increase chances of getting into less selective schools

·       May get financial aid bonus for applying early

·       Must make serious decision before exploring all options

·       Can only apply to one school

·       May not have time or opportunity to compare financial aid packages

·       May have no or fewer aid options and few scholarship options

·       Sometimes compete with a smaller but much stronger pool of candidates than during the regular application period

·       If rejected, may feel disappointed and discouraged




Early Decision Do’s and Don’ts







  • Withdraw all applications upon being accepted
  • Request a release from your contract only if the college is unable to work out appropriate financial aid
  • Take your Early Decision seriously
  • Discuss the cost of the college before applying
  • Attend the college that accepts you

·       Apply to ED programs at more than one college

·       Have your counselor send transcripts to more than one ED school or to any other schools once admitted

·       Try to get out of an ED acceptance because you've changed your mind

·       Have someone else write or heavily edit your application essays

·       Submit deposits to more than one college

·       State an intended major you don't plan on pursuing because you think it might help you get admitted

·       Inaccurately describe your activities and accomplishments

·       State to more than one college that it is your first choice