Early Decision Questions Answered: The Early Decision Agreement

We Admit It!  The whole early application process is confusing: there’s Early Decision, Early Action, Single-Choice Early Action, etc.  Sometimes it feels like you need a degree just to understand how to go about applying for a degree program.  In our ongoing attempts to help clarify W&M’s Early Decision (ED) process (see our previous three blogs), this week’s blog will focus on the Early Decision Agreement and what exactly it means to apply ED.

Early Decision is the binding form of early application; if you apply to a school Early Decision and you are admitted to that school, you are committed to enrolling there the following fall.  The Early Decision Agreement acts as the contract through which you put that commitment in writing.

The Early Decision agreement outlines what exactly Early Decision means.  You, one of your parents and your guidance counselor all sign the agreement stating that you understand the ED policy and that you agree to enroll at the school to which you apply ED if it admits you.  You further agree to withdraw any outstanding applications or offers of admission you got from other institutions, to not submit any new applications and to send your enrollment deposit to the school that admits you ED.  Early Decision is a serious process; the Early Decision agreement helps commit you to that process.

You can apply to only one school under an Early Decision deadline.  You can submit other applications under Early Action or rolling decision or other non-binding deadlines.  William & Mary will not release an ED admission decision to any student who does not submit the Early Decision agreement.

Applying to a college is a serious process; it’s also a very liberating process.  There’s a lot of maturity and self-reflection and growth that accompanies what you go through.  Applying ED and signing an ED agreement is one physical representation of that.  So enjoy the process, immerse yourself in the search and application experience, give it the attention and seriousness it deserves.  When you land at the college that’s the right fit for you, it will all be worth it.

Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission

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