Saving for College
“Early Decision” Could Backfire
Accepting an early decision offer sounds attractive: You apply early, and if accepted, you promise to attend. In some cases applying as an early decision candidate makes the odds of being accepted somewhat better, since the college or university can count on the student enrolling. (Colleges accept more students than they can actually handle, since they know some students who are accepted will choose to attend another school instead.)
Early decision can sometimes backfire if your child applies for financial aid, though. Once enrolled the school naturally has less incentive to put together an attractive aid package. If your child has excellent grades and a solid SAT score, and is likely to be accepted during the normal application process, consider not applying as an early acceptance candidate. That decision could result in a better financial aid package.