Have you applied to early decision and are left anxiously wondering when do college decisions come out?
Early decision deadlines are important to note but notification dates may vary by university.
This article will answer all your questions about the early decision deadline with a comprehensive list on early decision notification dates to refer to for your college application. By the end of this article, you will know exactly when do college decisions come out without the uncertainty.
Let’s go ahead and get started!
Does Early Decision Increase Chances?
Early Decision I and Early Decision II are early application notification programs that allow you to apply to your first choice college earlier than regular decisions. Both applications are binding agreements to attend a school upon acceptance. Some schools may not offer ED I or ED II but instead offer a similar program called, Early Action, which essentially follows the same guidelines.
Now, “early decision” refers to both Early Decision I and Early Decision 2. In this article, we use the term “early decision” throughout our discussion but are discussing details that apply to both ED I and ED II. If, in any case, there are distinctions between the two, we have noted that for you.
The most pressing question about early decision applications is whether you get to increase your chances of getting into college with these applications.
The answer is technically yes, but it may depend on a lot of factors.
Early Decision I applications are reviewed prior to Early Decision II, so just on that basis, you are increasing the likelihood of being considered before a larger pool of other applicants.
Sometimes, however, earlier applications might work against you.
You might have taken SATs during your sophomore year with decent scores, but your second time around turned out to be better. Early Decision II applicants get a chance to demonstrate these scores by delaying their applications slightly further.
On a broader scope, students who apply to early decision programs will have a higher likelihood of getting into that college in general. You will increase your chances, but your acceptance to the program is not assured. Some colleges, however, always take in their early decision students.
Now, what factors are driving this decision?
It varies by college, by application, and by experiences. For example, if your application seems like a great fit for the college and you have excelled in your academic performance, then early decision is probably the right direction for college placement. If, however, you decided to apply for early decision to your top choice, but didn’t necessarily have the best academic year, then your chances are somewhat lower.
Either way, when you apply to early decision programs, you are demonstrating an important commitment to these colleges, highlighting your potential as a candidate. It also demonstrates enthusiasm for a particular program or university. These are qualities that colleges are certainly looking for, so it will benefit you to reflect yourself in this light.
Additionally, there are potential drawbacks to early decision applications, as well.
What Happens If You Apply Early Decision and Don’t Go?
Before applying to early decision, you need to understand that this application is a binding agreement. That means that if you get accepted in early decision I or II, you have already agreed to attend by applying through this process. However, you have until May 1st to confirm final decisions.
This also means that if you do get accepted into an early decision college, it is required for you to immediately withdraw any other college applications you may have in progress. Students are expected to apply for early decision with one college, rather than multiple colleges; but if this is the case in your situation, make sure to take all the necessary precautions to rescind your other applications after acceptance.
If you decide not to attend the school that accepted you in early decision or found another school that you may have prioritized in the application process, then you might face some penalties. Penalties will vary by the institution and its policies with the likelihood of leaving your ties with these institutions compromised.
If you have a good reason to back out of your commitment to attending the school, then you won’t have to face any penalties. An example of a good reason typically relates to lack of funding to attend the school, health related issues, family related challenges, or other types of accidents.
Whatever the reason may be, if you find out that you have been accepted, you should start having discussions with your family about financial support and any other obligations that may impact your final decision to pursue the college.
When Do Early Decision Results Typically Come Out?
If you’ve prepared all your application materials and applied to your first-choice college, then you’ve reached the point of having to patiently wait to hear back from admissions on final decisions.
You’re likely wondering, “when do college decisions come out?”
College decision results will usually come out in late Spring around March or April; early decision results typically come out in early Spring beginning in Feb or as early as December. This, of course, will depend on whether you applied for early action, early decision I, or early decision II.
Early decision notification dates will vary by school, and it is hard to keep up with the variety of notification deadlines. To ease your application process, along with your nerves, we’ve created a complete table of anticipated early decision notification dates for top 50 schools in the U.S.
Please note that some schools do not report their early decision notification dates. These schools will send out an expected date after consulting with their admissions committee within the given year. So, they don’t have a standardized notification deadline like other schools might have.
You should still make sure to check their website and all your email or phone communications with the school until you’ve received a date.
A Complete Table of Anticipated Early Decision Notification Dates for Top 50 Schools
|Top 50 Schools (in sequential order)||Early Action Notification Dates|
|Princeton University||December 12|
|Harvard University||December 12|
|Columbia University||March 1|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||December 14|
|Yale University||December 12|
|Standard University||December 6|
|University of Chicago||Mid-December|
|University of Pennsylvania||Not listed|
|Northwestern University||Not listed|
|Duke University||Not listed|
|John Hopkins University||Not listed|
|California Institute of Technology||Mid-December|
|Dartmouth College||Not listed|
|Brown University||Not listed|
|University of Notre Dame||December 13|
|Vanderbilt University||Not listed|
|Cornell University||Not listed|
|Rice University||Not listed|
|Washington University in St. Louis||Not listed|
|University of California- Los Angeles||Not listed|
|Emory University||Not listed|
|University of California – Berkeley||Not listed|
|University of Southern California||Not listed|
|Georgetown University||December 15|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Not listed|
|University of Michigan – Ann Arbor||December 24|
|Wake Forest University||Rolling basis|
|University of Virginia||January 31|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Mid-January|
|New York University||Not listed|
|Tufts University||Not listed|
|University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill||Late January|
|University of Rochester||Not listed|
|University of California – Santa Barbara||Not listed|
|University of Florida||Not listed|
|University of California – Irvine||Not listed|
|Boston College||Not listed|
|University of California – San Diego||Not listed|
|University of California – Davis||Not listed|
|Boston University||Not listed|
|Brandeis University||Not listed|
|Case Western Reserve University||December 17|
|College of William and Mary||Early December|
|Northeastern University||February 1|
|Tulane University||December 19|
|University of Wisconsin – Madison||Late December|
|Villanova University||January 15|
|University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign||December 13|
|University of Texas – Austin||Does not offer early action|
|Lehigh University||Does not offer early action|
What Might Cause a Delay in an Early Decision Result?
While the early decision deadline is strict, there might be instances that cause a delay in an early decision result. These delays may be notified as a deferment or waitlist. This means that your application will be considered at a later time for admissions.
There are some strategies you can utilize to highlight your application during this delay period. For example, if your application has been deferred, you can try calling the admissions department to notify them of recent awards, other letters of support, new test scores, or other grades that might strengthen your application. Make sure to keep your frequency of communication professional and respectful to boundaries.
Unfortunately, if you have been waitlisted, then you will just have to wait until all other applicants are considered. It doesn’t hurt to use the same strategies we shared for deferred applications, but the likelihood of those factors being considered are lower. We strongly encourage you to start planning for your next choice schools if this occurs.
Can You Switch from Early Decision to Regular Decision?
If at some point, you feel like you’ve made a mistake in applying to early decision and would like to switch to regular decision, there are options! Policies for this switch will vary by institution, but you will probably not be held accountable for the binding agreement upon switching. These switches are usually very painlessly modified in communication exchanges via phone or email.
As a side note, make sure to have written record of this notification, along with the name of the person you relayed the information to; this will come in handy in case there was any mix-up with the paperwork.
Wrapping Things Up: Early Decision Notification Dates
At this point, you have a complete guide on how to identify early decision notification dates for the top colleges in the U.S. The most important thing to remember is that early decision applications are binding agreements that require a lot of pre-planning into finances, lodging, and other expectations—make sure to bring these questions to your mentors and parents early on to facilitate the application process.
If you found this post helpful, you may also want to check our post on when do early action results come out.
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