Early Decision Applications
Early Decision can be a good method of applying to college, if you’ve got your heart set on one school and absolutely know you want to go there. The Early Decision application process entails applying to one school, and one school alone, sometime generally in early November; when you apply, you sign a contract saying that, if accepted, you will attend the school. An Early Decision application is a serious commitment, though: colleges will typically charge you a year’s worth of tuition as a fee if you back out of your contract.
That said, it’s a great method of application if it works for you, for a number of reasons. You’re evaluated in a smaller applicant pool, and you’ll also have the benefit of being among the first batch of applicants admissions officers encounter for your year. It affords you the opportunity to complete the application process earlier, and for the stress of the college process to be alleviated if you receive an early acceptance. A great financial aid package may be harder to come by if you apply Early Decision, as an acceptance is binding.
If you’re applying Early Decision, be sure you've filled out every necessary part of the application, including the CommonApp, if your school uses it, the school's CommonApp supplement (if applicable), the binding Early Decision contract, and any other forms you might need to complete. Check in with your guidance counselor to make sure all your documentation has been or will be sent to the proper places: this includes transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other official forms that are necessary. Stay on the ball until your app is sent in!
After you send your application off, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Remember to relax. Awaiting admissions decisions can be extremely stressful, but not if you have a healthy outlook on the process. De-stress, and realize that the process is out of your hands and that you've done the best you could up to this point. And congratulations! You've cleared a big milestone. Hopefully you'll be hearing good news in a month or so.