The case for early birds

Wheaton Vice President of Enrollment Grant Gosselin discusses the benefits of applying Early Decision in an article published recently in the Boston Globe.

The piece, titled “Do early birds catch the college acceptance?” weighs the pros and cons of applying Early Decision—in which individuals commit to one college early in the admission season—and Early Action—in which they can apply and receive admission decision early but still have several months to commit. The Globe interviewed admissions officials from Wheaton, Stonehill, Babson and Boston colleges.

Gosselin, who also serves as dean of admission and student aid, tells the Globe that students who apply Early Decision receive more focused attention and are admitted at a higher rate than those who apply later.

“These are a self-selected group of students who have already done the work, and who have already decided that Wheaton is a good match for them,” Gosselin says.

About 80 percent of students who apply Early Decision are admitted to Wheaton versus about 57 percent for regular decision.

Wheaton applicants have two deadlines available to them for Early Decision—ED 1 and ED 2. ED 1 applications are due November 15, while ED 2 applications are due January 1. Students also have the option of applying Early Action, meaning they receive the college’s decision by mid-January but do not have to commit to attending until May. Regular Decision applications are due January 1.

Though the Globe article suggests that Early Decision might be less attractive to applicants who depend on financial aid, Gosselin notes how Wheaton “works with students to determine the financial options available early in the process, so they are not forced to decide before they know what aid might be available.”