Not going to your ED school?

February 14, 2007 at 6:07 pm 3 comments

Posted by Dee

What happens if you don’t go to the Early Decision school you were accepted to?

Eh, chances are nothing.

Barbara sent us a comment last week on the post titled, “Response to Theodore: why Princeton over Yale?” inquiring on this topic, and the answer is that seldom, if not never, has a college actually pursued legal means of dealing with students who disregard the promise they made that, if accepted, they will attend the school they were admitted to early decision. Basically, most of the ED agreements list that only for financial reasons are you allowed to decline your ED acceptance; if you really can’t raise the funds to attend their school. So, there is definitely a financial out of your ED acceptance.

There are obviously plenty of myths floating about as to what happens if you break your Early Decision promise. For example, is it true the ED school you turned down will tell every other school you were accepted to causing the other schools to rescind your admission?! While I think it’s unlikely — seeing as admissions offices probably don’t have the time, money, staff, or priority to track down where every one of their ED turn-downs has actually ended up, and then rat them out to those adcomms in hopes that the new schools will bar the students from entry essentially screwing over the students’ futures — clearly it is effective enough that adcomms have students worried that this sort of thing will happen. And, as folks pointed out on the College Confidential message boards, things get really complicated if you turn down a US Early Decision school for a school abroad. What happens then? I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but it seems maybe the myths are enough of a deterrent.

There are similar issues that arise when you accept admission to two schools too, which of course you’re not allowed to do, and should technically be punished for, but it happens. A good friend of mine was accepted to both Yale and Stanford, accepted both admissions because she couldn’t choose between the two and needed more time to make a final decision, and ended up at the latter without any consequences. Neither school found out. Is this atypical? Maybe. Is it ethical? No. Does it happen? Yes.


Entry filed under: Accepted, Admissions, Answer, Cheat, College trends, Colleges/Universities, Deadline, Early decision, Financial aid, Money, Myth, Registration, Regular decision, Rejected, Stanford, Yale.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lynn  |  April 17, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Is the last story true about your friend? And how can a person really get out of ED with no consequences? Please respond

  • 2. Dee  |  April 18, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    The last story was specifically about accepting admission to two schools during the regular admission round — neither yale nor stanford was an ED school for her — sorry if that was confusing… it was just to mention a related point!

  • 3. Eve123  |  February 13, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I am an international student and I applied to a private school on ED2 based on what I heard from my seniors and the admission officers who visited my school… however, after I visited the campus, I didn’t really think that this was the place for me.

    The college has not yet released its decision on my application.. those are due in 2 days

    Can I convert my application to a regular application or withdraw it ?


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