Introducing Early Decision

by Christine Cole Harden |
Santa Clara offers a new option for students who know right off that this is where they want to be.

Beginning this fall, prospective students who rank Santa Clara as their No. 1 choice—and want the University to know it—will have a new option when applying for admission: Early Decision. It’s a binding program with a Nov. 1 deadline—the same as the University’s Early Action program, which is nonbinding.

As for Early Decision: Students who are ready to make a commitment need to talk with their parents and high school guidance counselors about it, as all three parties must sign an agreement on the Common Application stating the intent to commit upon acceptance. What are the benefits? A shorter waiting period for a decision; time and money saved on submitting multiple applications; more time to make housing arrangements and prepare for college if accepted; and time to apply elsewhere if not accepted.

There is a trade-off with early decision: Students cannot apply to other schools’ early decision programs; they can, however, apply to other early admission and regular-deadline programs. If admitted to SCU early decision, they must withdraw their applications elsewhere and commit to Santa Clara. (The nonbinding Early Action option allows students to wait until May 1 to commit.)

For the University, the new program is a helpful enrollment management tool, notes Michael Sexton, vice president of enrollment management. “We’ve seen a 41 percent increase in applications during the last three years,” he says, adding that this year alone, the admissions office reviewed 1,000 more applications than last year—with no additional staff support. Early Action applicants are also on the rise—up 47 percent in the last three years.

In terms of being binding, early decision does offer one exception: According to the agreement on the Common Application, if the financial aid package offered by a university won’t permit an admitted student to attend, he or she may decline the offer of admission and be released from his or her commitment.

And, of course, if Early Decision and Early Action aren’t routes that students want to take when applying, there’s still the regular admission process.


Cristian Tamayo said on Oct 1, 2012
Is the early action decision binding or not binding?
Santa Clara Magazine said on Oct 2, 2012
The Early Action option is nonbinding and allows students to wait until May 1 to commit
Prospective student said on Oct 23, 2012
When does the university offer financial aid in the early decision process?
Santa Clara Magazine said on Oct 23, 2012
SCU Admissions says financial aid awards for Early Decision students are made available shortly after admit notices are made and before the end of the year. This should be around Christmas time.
Prospective Student said on Oct 28, 2012
When do I hear back from Santa Clara if I apply Early Action?
Santa Clara Magazine said on Oct 29, 2012
Notifications are mailed late December
Alexander said on Oct 29, 2012
If I apply early action to Santa Clara, can I still apply early decision to another University?
Santa Clara Magazine said on Oct 29, 2012
If you apply for Early Action at SCU, you can still apply to Early Decision at another university, but if you're accepted in Early Decision at another university, you must withdraw your SCU Early Action application.
Prospective Student said on Nov 4, 2012
When do I hear back from SCU for Early Decision?
Santa Clara Magazine said on Nov 6, 2012
Decisions will be communicated before Christmas.
Prospective Student said on Nov 4, 2012
How many applicants has SCU received for early decision by Nov 1, 2012?
Santa Clara Magazine said on Nov 6, 2012
SCU received 194 Early Decision applications. That number may increase as students affected by Hurricane Sandy have additional time. Both the Early Decision and Early Action applicants shared the Nov. 1 deadline.
Prospective Student said on Nov 4, 2012
Does the admissions office look at the Early Decision pool of applicants separately from the Early Action pool of applicants?
Santa Clara Magazine said on Nov 6, 2012
Both the Early Decision and Early Action applicants are evaluated the same way at the same time.
Prospective Student said on Nov 8, 2012
Is SCU a 'need aware' or 'need blind' university?
Prospectie Student said on Nov 9, 2012
How many students have applied Early Decision as of Nov. 9 2012?
Prospective Student said on Nov 10, 2012
Will all ED applicants receive their decision before Christmas or will some get notified anywhere between November and December?
DAN said on Apr 17, 2013

If a student applies for Early Action to Santa Clara and is not accepted, will the application roll over to regular decision?

Santa Clara Magazine said on Apr 19, 2013

Early Action applicants can have three outcomes in December:

1. Admitted
2. Denied
3. Deferred to Regular Decision

Only the 3rd one will roll you into regular. If a student is denied, that concludes his/her admission cycle.

Winter 2014

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