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Is RIT your first choice? Learn about Early Decision!

Becky Drexler on Wednesday, 18 November 2015. Posted in Admissions Process

Confused about all the decision plans at the colleges you're considering? I'm here to help you decide whether or not RIT's Early Decision plan is a good fit for you!

What is the Early Decision Plan?
Many colleges and universities have their own type of early decision plan. Students who have RIT as their number one choice and want to apply to RIT as soon as possible can apply early decision. Early decision allows students to start the application process earlier and get an admissions decision plus scholarship and financial aid information sooner. At RIT, applicants interested in early decision should submit all materials by the December 1 deadline. Early Decision notification letters will then be mailed out on or before January 15.

What are the benefits of Early Decision?

  1. Hear about admission and financial aid decisions much earlier than other applicants.
  2. You get to hear the facts first before making any life-changing decisions. This includes scholarship and financial aid information prior to paying your admissions acceptance deposit.
  3. Receive an early financial aid award estimate with the completion of the RIT Early Decision Financial Aid Application (still file the FAFSA form after January 1)
  4. Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants at RIT are treated the same in the awarding of scholarships and financial aid. Some colleges and universities offer lower awards to Early Decision applicants, but RIT does not.
  5. Receive priority in the campus housing selection process when you pay your deposit by the February 15 deadline.
  6. You can always change your mind! If you would rather be moved to the Regular Decision plan, students will be reconsidered for admission with applicants in the Regular Decision pool.

Is it binding?
RIT refers to its process as a friendly version of a binding agreement. Students can only apply to one school (typically their #1 school) as early decision. Unlike other schools, students can still apply to other colleges and universities – through those schools' regular decision plans. RIT will be happy to work with students individually throughout the early decision process if needed.

Hear from current students who went through the Early Decision Process!
I found some current students and interviewed them on their experience with the early decision plan at RIT. Meet the group:
Kaylie McDonald – 3rd year, Film and Animation
Adnan Syed – 3rd year, Accounting
Sarah Willete – 2nd year, Biomedical Sciences
Savannah Swint – 2nd year, Film and Animation
Ian Pasternak – 4th year, Environmental Sustainability, Health, and Safety
Courtney Puzio – 2nd year, Physician Assistant


Me: Why did you choose Early Decision?

Kaylie: I visited probably close to hundreds of schools because my entire family works in colleges. They all thought picking the right college was crucial, so I saw a bunch. But I honestly couldn't see myself at any of them until RIT. I liked the campus right away, and then I saw the space for the program I was interested in. I knew right then that I wanted to go to RIT. No other school! I applied early decision, because I was all in. RIT ended up being the only school I applied to.

Ian: I wasn't early decision at first, but I switched my plan after I submitted my application. I changed to Early Decision because RIT was my top choice. I also wanted to get the tension of waiting to hear back from my top schools over with.

Sarah: I chose the early decision plan because the process was basically the same as regular decision, but you get to apply and find out about your acceptance earlier. I remember sending out all of my college applications by the end of September. Most schools require you to attend with a binding early decision contract, but RIT has a much friendlier policy. After seeing the financial aid, scholarships, and other information, you can decide whether or not to commit and put down your acceptance deposit.

Savannah: I chose the early decision plan because RIT was my number one choice. I also needed to know my options sooner, as the housing I had for my senior year of high school expired at graduation. I needed the extra time to plan on where I was going to move for the summer, and how I was going to transport my things to the school.

Adnan: I chose Early Decision after learning more about the co-op programs and campus life during the open houses I attended. Being on campus for those events allowed me to gauge if I was comfortable with being on campus as well. I had great experiences and could really see myself at RIT, so I picked Early Decision.

Courtney: I chose early decision because my program of interest, Physician Assistant, is extremely competitive and I wanted to hear sooner.


Me: Was RIT your first choice?

Sarah: Yes, RIT was my first choice. I originally wasn't entirely sure what major I was interested in. RIT has a great science department, so I applied into Biology. Biology helped me find the specific direction I wanted to go in. 

Adnan: I knew RIT was on the top of my list and after hearing what the Saunders College of Business had to offer, I wanted to know my admissions decision sooner than the March 15 notification for most colleges' regular decision application.

Courtney: After weighing pros and cons, RIT kept coming out as my top choice and I wanted a decision from them earlier on.


Me: What would you say are some of the benefits of Early Decision?

Savannah: The benefits are that my desire to know what school I'm attending and the anxiety of getting accepted into college were abated faster. Also, if I hadn't been accepted, I would have had some wiggle room to apply elsewhere.

Ian: It eliminated the stress/tension of getting into a college early on. I wasn't worried because of RIT's friendly binding policy. In fact, I had less jitters than when I was regular decision because I was in a smaller pool of applicants. That thought helped me for some reason.


Me: Do you have any tips/recommendations for students applying through Early Decision?

Kaylie: If you love RIT, you're making the right choice by applying early decision. If it's the school for you, then why not do it? Good luck!

Ian: I would have checked off Early Decision on my application originally. I had to e-mail my high school counselor and the admissions office to change my decision plan, but it only took a minute. I would have also done my applications earlier, which would have saved me a lot of nagging from my mom!

Adnan: I would've asked for recommendation letters earlier and started the process earlier. I wasn't late with it, but being early doesn't hurt at all.

Courtney: I would recommend that students manage their time well to get their applications done, research their schools well before applying early decision, and find out the school's requirements for early decision. For example, if financial circumstances change, can you get out of your commitment? Those things are important.


Me: Would you recommend early decision to an incoming student?

Savannah: I would absolutely recommend early decision if you have your heart set on RIT. But only if you're sure. Give yourself time to think. Don't rush into things if you aren't sure, but I was sure about RIT.

Courtney: I would recommend applying early decision to your top choice because it shows them how you prioritize their school and your best applications are often the ones you put the most time into. These are often the beginning applications before you start to be stressed out by the application process.


For more information on the Early Decision Process at RIT:

For more information on important deadlines and requirements: