ED vs RD: The crossroads all seniors face


Jack Parsons

Masters’s college counseling office.

Sandra Liu, Social Media Manager

Early Decision (ED), is a type of early admission used in U.S. college admissions for first-year students in undergraduate programs. ED is a great opportunity for candidates to show universities that they consider that school to be their first choice. However, ED involves many things to consider, such as binding policy, earlier submission deadline, and financial aid, and behind the ED’s seeming ability to increase admissions rates also lies the disadvantage of time limitation. Therefore, there is no right answer to this question, weighing the benefit from both sides and following the heart is the most helpful way to make a choice that people won’t regret.

“It gives me the best chance of getting into the school I want,” senior Cesco Desiderio said. Applying early decisions will result in a greater chance of admission to most colleges; in the 2020 to 2021 admission cycle. Brown University accepted 21.9% of Early Decision applicants according to the Common Data Set, while on the other hand, their overall acceptance rate is 5.5%. 

However, ED is not always helpful and not always the right choice for all students.  “The acceptance rate of each university cannot be judged by simple numbers alone,” Adam Gimple, Director of College Counseling, said.  “Some schools, such as the University of North Carolina, have fixed quotas for the number of students from their own state and may not be as friendly to students from other states, so the acceptance rates for EA and RD will not be very different.” 

Gimple also mentioned that only half of Masters School students chose to apply for ED from 2018 to 2021, a figure that is less than many might think.

Another reason which makes applying Early Decision seem less appealing is the binding policy. Students who are accepted as ED applicants must attend college. “For ED, I know that you have to make a commitment to one school, and I would want more time to prepare for regular decisions. Because regular decision allows you to take time to choose what school you want,” senior Delilah Vega said. Another reason for applying for ED is financial aid. Some students who need to apply for financial aid often choose to apply for RD because it gives them the opportunity to choose the college that gives them the most financial aid. Conversely, the single choice of ED stifles their opportunity to compare.

Overall, the ED application is a double-edged sword, and it is important to bear some of the benefits it offers while also considering the limitations it provides, both in terms of school choice and major selection.