The Early Advantage
I was struck today by a few blog posts and articles regarding the advantages of Early Decision in the college process. In each, there was an underlying message about financial aid. If you are concerned with financial aid, don't apply Early Decision. Without explanation this can deter many high achieving, low income students from applying in the early round having them lose out on a clear advantage.
If a college meets 100% of demonstrated need and the student and family is comfortable with their Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), financial aid should not be a reason to miss out on applying Early Decision. For students who have an EFC zero or a relatively low bottom line, applying to colleges under the Early Decision Plan can be a big advantage. This is especially important for "need aware" schools that are concerned about budget and yield. Advanced research is incredibly important. Talk to the admissions and financial aid office prior to applying Early Decision. Students and families can also use net price calculators to get an idea of the estimated cost for college.
Below is an article I wrote for the Schuler Scholar Program's Newsletter back in 2011 that talks about the success the Schuler Scholar Program has had with Early Decision.