October is such an exciting time in New England and in college admissions. The humid summer gives way to a little breeze of fresh air, the beautiful colors of fall foliage appear, and the next group of eager students contemplates applying Early Decision (ED). In the past few months I've met plenty of students who have been ready to apply ED. All had enthusiastic reasons to apply ED and Tufts fit was the most common denominator. One girl in Orange County talked about her super homogenous environment and how she was ready to be in a more diverse environment. I met a guy after an info session who said "your website is so cool and feels like I should be friends with everyone," then he went on to say that the campus tour was just a confirmation of the website.
On the flip side, there are students who feel pressured to apply ED. The conversation usually goes something like this: "my parents want me to apply Early Decision somewhere, but I'm not absolutely in love with one school." Reasons behind this could be: "It worked for my older sibling," "It's easier to get in ED," or "Everyone else is applying somewhere early."
We talk to students (and parents- see Kim's Blog) daily in this profession and this situation happens far too often. If there isn't one school that is miles above the others, it's your responsibility to sit down with your parents and explain why. Yes, the statistics say it's easier to be admitted early decision; evidence of this has been seen in plenty of articles from the NY Times to specific school websites. Rest assured, we at Tufts admit the same students (academically, intellectually, and personal voice) in early decision as in regular decision.
I know this process can be stressful for you and your parents (potentially more stressful for your parents because they have personal AND financial considerations). However, the college search process is a time of reflection, and a time to show your parents how mature you've become. Explain what you like about each school, and why you are or aren't ready to commit to a binding decision. Being honest with your parents may be hard (I completely understand; I have parents, too), so show them you've done your research. Show them they can trust you to make a good decision.
Applying Early Decision need not feel like a game of Duck, Duck, Goose. My advice to you is don't let the plans of other students pressure you into making a premature decision. This is usually the first time you get to make such a big life decision, and the next four years of your life could be determined by this decision. So... as you're thinking about applying early decision or not, see if the relaxed intellectual vibe at Tufts is the right fit for you. Surf our website, contact our students, and see if you love everything Tufts, as that is how you should feel when applying ED!