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Early Decision–A Choice You Might Regret Later?

One of my favorite higher education bloggers, Mary Beth Marklein at USA Today, blogged yesterday about a new report that indicated that Many who get early admission to college regret choice later in life.

The research is a bit spotty, it seems. But it seems true that the admissions frenzy often appears to force students into decisions before they are ready to make them.

On the other hand, many students ARE ready to commit to a single college early in the process. I was, for example (many, many moons ago…).

I advise students to go Early Decision only if they are really, really, really, really (really!) sure that they are totally devoted to this one college choice.

Too many students try to game the strategy, and then come up with sub-optimal outcomes in their decision making. For more on this logic, see the book, The Early Admissions Game by Christopher Avery, Andrew Fairbanks, and Richard Zeckhauser.

The admissions frenzy results in some casualties, sometimes. And as the research seems to indicate, the wounds aren’t always apparent until much later.

Mark Montgomery
Independent College Consultant

Reader Interactions


  1. I’ve always thought it’s a bad idea to do – unless you’re loaded and don’t care about paying full freight.

    Otherwise, schools can just say “you really want to go here, so pay full price or go elsewhere.”

    But that’s just me and my middle-class viewpoints.

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