Early Decision Comments by Seth Allen

Early Decision: College Experts Forum
Comments from Seth Allen

by Seth Allen
Director of Admissions
Dickinson College

Early Decision is often maligned by its critics and misunderstood by the public. At the one extreme, Early Decision is seen by students as a strategy to make themselves more competitive for admission at reach schools. At the other, as a ploy by colleges to unfairly lock-in students and avoid market economics. Granted, both extremes exist, perhaps increasingly so, but it's also true that Early Decision remains the purest form of admission. In an age when marketing consultants are the norm, college rankings generate big business, and application numbers at most schools resemble the stock market of the '90s, admission under Early Decision is still about a student's qualifications rather than a student's competitiveness. In other words, if you meet the burden of proof that you can be successful at the college, you have a very good chance of being admitted under Early Decision. Under other plans, you must also demonstrate, in a relative sense, that you are superior to the other applicants vying for a spot in the freshman class, a feat that is oftentimes difficult to predict because of the vagaries of the applicant pool.

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