So you want to talk about Early Decision?

Application types

This article was originally published in June 2021 and has been updated for the 2023-24 application cycle.

The college application process is nothing short of daunting and confusing for many college applicants. Particularly, the different application options like Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision, trigger an immense amount of thought. So, what are these options exactly? Well…

  1. Early Action (EA): an early application process that is NON-BINDING. If the student applies EA and is accepted, they are not required to attend if they would rather go somewhere else. The deadline for EA applications is earlier than regular decision deadlines.
  2. Early Decision (ED): an early application process that is BINDING (required to attend if accepted). An early decision applicant applies ED because they want to go to this institution over any other place. They also receive admission notification earlier than regular decision applicants. If they receive an acceptance, they have to withdraw their application from all other colleges and attend. The deadline for early decision applications is earlier than regular decision deadlines.
  3. Regular Decision (RD): this is the standard application route, where applicants can apply to any amount of colleges they would like. Responses typically come back in the spring. This route is non-binding and provides the most flexibility for applicants so they can compare schools that have accepted them, financial aid packages, etc.
Student walking through campus with an NYU flag and building in the background.
How do these application options apply to NYU?

NYU offers two of these application options: Early Decision and Regular Decision. Early Decision I and Early Decision II are two separate waves to apply ED. Both waves are given equal consideration and only differ in deadlines and response dates. You may be thinking ED sounds like a big commitment. Well, it kind of is! Early decision is definitely not for all applicants and that’s okay. Not everyone is prepared to commit to a single institution for a variety of reasons! This could be anything like uncertainty about programs, wanting to compare financial aid packages, or just wanting options. There is no reason to commit to something if you are doubtful or unsure. Sometimes, all we need is time and options (which you can find by applying RD)!

Why Early Decision?

Urban Campus

As an Early Decision applicant myself, I am sure it was the best decision I have ever made. I wanted to commit to a school early for many reasons; my main reason being my desire for an urban campus. I knew from the start of my college search that I did not want the traditional college campus experience. New York City is a place filled with opportunity and adventure and I was prepared to take advantage of that. My outgoing and independent personality aligned perfectly with what came with going to a school like NYU. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to spend 4 years in the city that never sleeps!

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Study Away

Studying away is another item at the top of my bucket list. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to align study away with my classes. While researching schools, I kept in mind that I wanted security knowing that I would always have studying away as an option. 

During my search, I stumbled upon NYU study away information. I found it hard to believe how easy it is to study away at NYU. When I came to campus as a student, I was still skeptical about how easy the process actually was. Many of my friends went abroad and were able to build their coursework around what they wanted to do. Something had to work out with my coursework because of the vast amount of locations and year-round programs. Read about my study away experience at NYU Paris!

Waterway in London

Making the "Early Decision" decision

After taking all my desires into consideration during my extensive search, I realized NYU had everything I wanted. NYU offers a Global Public Health undergraduate program, something only a few universities offer, an incredibly flexible study abroad program, a vast alumni network, an urban campus, and a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum!

I have grown tremendously since coming to NYU. I have developed as a student, leader, and friend and I am confident that this growth is because of my decision to come to NYU. NYU has proven to be the perfect fit for me, and finding that out during my college search was why I applied early decision. Good luck with your applications!

gif of Mel B saying

Michelle Alvarado (she/her) is a rising sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Global Public Health with a concentration in Biology and minoring in Social Entrepreneurship. Originally from New Jersey, Michelle came to NYU as a first generation college student aspiring to earn her degree in the city that never sleeps. When she isn’t working on campus as an Office Assistant or Admissions Ambassador, Michelle can be found admiring NYC dogs or studying at her favorite coffee shop near campus. She is a member of a Panhellenic sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Hall Council. Michelle is passionate about helping others and hopes that by sharing her journey, she can inspire others to chase their dreams.