Can I Switch to Regular Decision After Applying Early Decision?

Adobe Stock

I submitted an application for binding Early Decision. I know the only way out of it is if the financial aid package doesn't suit me, but I already marked on the application that I don't need financial aid. I have done a lot of thinking and the closer it gets to notification time, the more I know I do not want to go to that school. My father went there and I liked it when I visited, but I have found other schools that are better for me. Do I call the school and ask them to switch me to the Regular Decision pool? Is that possible? Or is it too late and now I'm stuck going there if I get in?

No sweat ... you haven't sealed your fate. In fact, an Early Decision candidate can usually switch into the Regular Decision pool practically right up to the day the admission decisions are finalized. But if you're certain that you don't want to make a binding commitment to this college (and it does indeed sound like you are), then you should move to RD right away. However, instead of a phone call, send your update via email so that you'll have a written record of the exchange. If you don't receive a reply within a week or so, follow up with a phone call. In addition, because your guidance counselor is also required to submit an Early Decision confirmation form, you should speak with him or her immediately. If your counselor hasn't yet submitted this form, you can stop it. And if it has been sent already, ask your counselor to notify the college that it's no longer valid.

So you don't need to worry about getting stuck at a school that feels wrong to you, and you might even consider withdrawing your application entirely. But, because you did like this place initially and since you may get some grief from Dad for bailing on his alma mater, then RD is probably the right route for you.

Finally, should you decide several months from now that you actually do want to go to this college after all, you should recognize that your ED withdrawal may signal to admission officials that you're lukewarm about enrolling and perhaps only applying to mollify your father. If you're not a strong candidate, that could hurt your acceptance odds. So if your enthusiasm for this school surges again, make some contact with your regional admissions rep to be sure that you convey your genuine interest.


If you'd like to submit a question to College Confidential, please send it along here.