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Early Decision Questions Answered: The Early Decision Agreement

October 14, 2013 by

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


  • BCG says:

    The new C4 Common Application System appears to have crashed due to user volume spikes; users are currently unable to access their CA accounts. Would you provide thoughts on how these system issues may impact those applying ED on November 1st?

  • Admit It! says:

    @BCG, we are aware of the problems that were experienced today and we also know the Common App folks are hard at work fixing the issue. Assuming the problem is resolved quickly, it should not impact those applying ED as our deadline is still a few weeks away. If problems persist or new problems arise that we believe do impact our deadline we will be sure to update students via web/social media/this blog/etc.

  • AEW says:

    Thank you for posting about this and the Common App. NPR just put up an article about the Common App glitches and I was wondering what WM was doing about it.

  • Admit It! says:

    @AEW, we continue to monitor the situation with the Common App especially as it related to our November 1 Early Decision deadline. Should we need to make any adjustments we will be sure to let our prospective students know!

  • TEP says:

    Given our truly frustrating experience with CA, is there anyway we can check to see if W&M actually received our application? I did read that admissions sends out a confirmation email within two weeks, but that is cutting it awfully close to the deadline if CA did not in fact successfully transmit the application to W&M. Thanks!

  • Admit It! says:

    @TEP, once we begin to process applications we will post a blog how we notify applicants about the status of their application. While it takes us a while to complete an application, downloading the app alone from Common App is usually efficient. Remember, we won with you through this process. If for some reason a glitch occurs and something doesn’t arrive, we will just ask you to resend it so don’t worry. We’ll work with you to be sure your application is completed an reviewed.

  • JMG says:

    In line with some of the other comments, how long should we wait to verify if W&M received our application? Sorry, I know your office is extremely busy, but after 4 days of wrestling to submit the application, it was not easy to figure out if it actually went through or not.

  • Admit It! says:

    @JMG, once we start processing applications you’ll usually get an initial email from us confirming receipt of your Common App within a few business days or so. Then we send a second email confirming we’ve completed your application (that can take several weeks). However, when you submit your Common App, you should get confirmation emails from Common App letting you know your app was submitted to W&M and another letting you know your optional writing submission was submitted (if you did one).

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