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What about Early Decision?


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Posted 02 October 2006 - 06:16 PM

What about Early Decision?

We are not certain that Early Decision choices are the best option for International Students.  In fact, some schools do not accept Early Decision applications from International Students because the nature of Early Decision is not always well understood.  

First of all, in most cases, Early Decision applicants need to begin preparation for TOEFL and SAT during their third year of high school.  Students will need to do well on these exams in order to accepted through Early Decision.  It is a very competitive process.  

Most colleges allow you to apply to other schools at the same time you are applying to them as an Early Decision student, you can apply to only one school for Early Decision, so that school must be the one you really want to attend. Under most Early Decision plans, applications are submitted during the fall of the senior year of high school.

Early Decision is a moral and ethical agreement:  a student has agreed that if accepted by that school, the student will attend that school.  This is a matter of academic honor.  This is not some game that students can play to get the best deal.  It is a very serious and shameful infraction of the rules to apply Early Decision and not comply with the terms. Often International Students do not understand the nature of this obligation.  This is one reason why more and more schools are not offering Early Decision opportunities to International Students.

Financial packages are another issue in the Early Decision process.  Although most schools will provide students with estimated financial aid packages, you must realize that if the estimate does not cover you educational costs, your family needs to feel confident that it can work out financing for the college you apply to under an Early Decision plan.  An Early Decision plan is probably not the best option for you if your family needs to compare the financial aid packages offered from several different colleges in order for you to decide which college to attend.   Also unless you can provide TOEFL and SAT scores, most schools are not going to be able to offer you an estimated financial aid package.  

Now on to the plus side of Early Decision

Well most schools get back to you with this information very quickly.  Thus, once accepted, your worries are over.  Schools have a tendency to view Early Decision candidates as enthusiastic and committed to them.  After all, Early Decision makes it clear to admissions officers that their school is your school of choice.  

Early Decision is just not for everybody.  For example, we have one student that has been preparing for more than two years.  His test scores are at the absolute top in applicant pool.  He is very committed to one school.  He is definitely a good candidate for Early Decision.  We are working with the school of his choice to get an estimated financial aid package.  IAC has spoken with the International Student Admissions Officer several times.  However, should this student violate his Early Decision agreement, that will reflect poorly on the student, on IAC, and on other potential candidates from the countries of Serbia and Montenegro.  If you are a student who has made this kind of commitment to your educational goals, then you probably are a good candidate for Early Decision.  On the other hand, in the last academic year, a larger number of students applied through regular decision and were accepted.  Of course, it goes without saying that in keeping with local tradition, we had a few that waited until the last minute also and they managed to scoot into an American university as well!  I guess that would be called Last Minute Decision and please avoid that this year.




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