Early entrance applicants know exactly what school they wish to go to. But they may give universities an opportunity to exploit that single-minded ambition by delivering less aid than expected. Would-be students may not know how a lot they’ re getting until it’ s too late.
You can find two types of early admission: earlier decision and early action. Early decision involves a commitment to attend. Early action does not.
Indicate Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisor’ s Network, recommends against early choice. “ The problem with early choice is that you’ re making a commitment to attend before knowing about the financial aid package, ” he told MainStreet, while shutting out colleges that may give you a better deal.
“ There’ s no up-front pricing, ” he says. You don’ t know how much the college will definitely cost until after you are admitted. The net price calculators are a step in the direction of providing early information about the net price, but the information it offers is only an estimate. ”
Most schools will let you away from and early decision commitment in case you seriously can’ t go. Yet by then it may be too late if, in the pursuit of a dream school, you haven’ t applied to other colleges. While Kantrowitz says that earlier admission applicants seem to get the same types and amounts of financial aid because students in a college’ s normal admission pool, “ early entrance students tend to self-select into a more talented and wealthier group, and are also more likely to be admitted and more unlikely to get financial aid. ”
Kantrowitz recommends applying to multiple colleges to increase the chances of securing aid. “ In addition to the usual mix of safety, reach and good match schools, learners should also apply to at least one financial aid basic safety school, ” he said. “ A financial aid safety school is really a college that not only will confess the student, but where the student could afford to attend even if he or she got no financial aid other than loans. ”
While the benefit is that you can be admitted to your first choice before the holidays there is a distinct drawback: “ You must wait until January 1 to apply for federal student aid. And while you wait, program deadlines for other schools start to pass. When your award finally happens, if it doesn’ t adequately cover your need, your options are couple of. ” Freshman classes at other schools will be filling up, and the aid pool will be getting smaller.
This highlights the benefit of early motion. “ Early action is non–binding, ” says Princeton Review. “ You get an acceptance, but still have got time to compare several award deals. ”
The College Private Website’ s “ Ask the Dean” column by Sally Rubenstone stresses the importance of award formulas based on family income and assets being an aid package barometer. “ This package will be the same whether an applicant applies under an early- or regular-decision plan, ” she creates. Some schools can offer more in grants and less in loans to sought-after applicants. Since earlier applicants are already sure-things, the deals will likely be fewer.
University Confidential mentions the appeal procedure as an option. If you get in earlier but don’ t like the aid, “ you are free to appeal the award. Colleges don’ t love to lose admitted students, and you may discover that, with a bit of polite and appreciative cajoling, you can get your pot sweetened after all. ”
But the best merit aid awards might be saved for uncommitted students. “ At the majority of colleges, merit-aid guidelines are vague, ” College Private says. “ Web sites and pamphlets make ambiguous proclamations like ‘ awards are given to the top applicants in our pool. ’ Students and parents can’ t tell when they’ re in the running – and how much they’ ll get if they are – until decision words show up in the spring. ”
Still, College Confidential says it’ s typically easier to become admitted by early decision within the regular pool. “ Colleges grab bird-in-hand applicants while realizing that they may not be as strong as some that will turn up down the road, ” adding that will. “ Most enrollment managers wish to lock in a certain percentage of the junior class during the early-decision period. ”