Early Decision lifts weight of college off seniors’ shoulders


Iya Abdulkarim

Senior Nora Kempainen wears her Colby sweatshirt after being accepted through Early Decision

Iya Abdulkarim, The Rubicon Editor

At the same time that most seniors were wrapping up their college applications, a third of the class of 2017 had already heard back from their colleges through early decision (ED) applications.

This record number of ED acceptees amount is up from the usual 25% of the grade, but it’s too early to tell if it is a national trend.

Furthermore, Assistant Director of College Counseling Karna Ivory explained that there were more than just 33% of students who wanted responses in advance.

“70% of students applied somewhere early, and it wasn’t necessarily early decision, but it was an early application,” Ivory said. Early decision applications are binding, whereas early action applications, which are available for various schools, allow students to have an early response without being bound to the school if admitted.

For senior Nora Kempainen, who will be joining the class of 2021 at Colby College, she decided to apply ED because her early decision application allowed her to hear back from the school she most wanted to attend several months before regular applicants.

“The application deadline was November 15 and I found out exactly a month later [if I was accepted] as opposed to regular decision, [for which] you apply beginning or mid-January and don’t find out until March,” Kempainen said. “It was really nice–I sent in my application three weeks early so I had to wait seven weeks, but [it was] still [early].”

Besides being admitted into her preferred school, Kempainen is also relieved of filling out further applications.

“[One of the benefits of ED was] knowing that I don’t have to do any more applications, not having to worry about it. People in my grade will be worrying about it in the spring and I’m done now, which is nice.” Kempainen said.

The same is true for senior Ethan Meitz, who was admitted to Washington University through early decision.

“My motivation towards school is about the same, but I definitely care less about grades–there is a lot less stress [around] all of it,” Meitz said.

My motivation towards school is about the same, but I definitely care less about grades–there is a lot less stress [around] all of it

— Ethan Meitz

I because one, it increases your chances and I really liked that school more than the other ones, so why not give myself a higher chance [of admittance] and [two] you get your decision earlier obviously, which is nice,” Meitz said. “More people are admitted early decision but it is still just as competitive,” he added.

“The only downside [to applying via early decision] would be that you have to go to that school, but if you are applying ED, obviously you want to go to that school so it really shouldn’t [be]have a downside,” he said.

“ED to me seems like a good idea if you know that ‘I would like to go to this school,’” Meitz added.

For the remaining two thirds of the grade, applications have been submitted and the wait begins.

“I’m done. I feel great. I applied to a lot [of colleges] and submitting the last one [application] was amazing,” senior Sara Bohjanen said.

“Some [applications] I did early action, which is non-binding, so I already know that I am in colleges,” she said.

“It just gives me more of a choice where I go […] I am hopeful to hear back from my schools but I’m also kind of stressed because I actually have to [make] the decision,” Bohjanen added.

But Bohjanen’s applications aren’t the only ones on her mind.

“I am proud [of my classmates who were accepted through ED],” she said, “[applying ED] is not for me [because] I didn’t have a top choice school.”

“I think it was more that the students had a good idea of what they wanted and where they wanted to go […] They made a thoughtful decision about a good match for them,” Ivory said. “An early decision is a big decision because it is a big commitment,” she added.