Early Decision vs Regular Decision: Which is Right for You?

Written By Marc Lehman, Owner and Family Therapist at


The college application process can be stressful, and one of the most difficult decisions you’ll have to make is whether to apply Early Decision or Regular Decision. Both have their pros and cons, so how do you know which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Early Decision vs Regular Decision so that you can make an informed decision for your future.

What is Early Decision?

Early Decision is a binding financial agreement between the student and the college. If the student is accepted, they are required to attend that school and withdraw all other applications. Early Decision applications are typically due in November, and students will receive their decision by mid-December.

What is Regular Decision?

Regular Decision applications are not binding, which means that students are not required to attend the school if they are accepted. Students will usually receive their decision January-March.

What are the Pros and Cons of Early Decision?

Applying Early Decision can increase your chances of getting into your first-choice school because admissions committees give priority to Early Decision applicants. Additionally, if you’re applying to a competitive school, applying Early Decision may increase your chances of being accepted since regular decision applicants make up a larger pool of applicants. On the flip side, however, if you’re not accepted into your first-choice school through Early Decision, you won’t have any other options since you’ve already committed to attending that school if accepted.

What are the Pros and Cons of Regular Decision?

The main advantage of applying Regular Decision is that it gives you more time to complete your applications and decide which schools you want to apply to. Additionally, if you’re not sure about your first-choice school or you’re worried about getting in, applying Regular Decision gives you the option of attending another school if you’re not accepted into your first choice. However, one downside to applying Regular Decision is that it may be harder to get into your top choice since there will be more applicants vying for spots.

Making the decision between Early Decision and Regular Decision can be tough, but it’s important to weigh all of the pros and cons before making a decision. Ultimately, the choice comes down to what’s best for YOU and YOUR future. Be sure to consult with your parents, teachers, or guidance counselors before making any final decisions.