Back when I was applying to colleges, I kept hearing about all these different ways to apply (early action, early decision, single choice early…) and honestly had no idea what the differences were between them. I came to visit RIT with my parents around November of my senior year and met with an admissions counselor, as well as advisors in the academic department that I was applying to. After my visit, RIT had won me over and officially became my top choice, so I ended up applying early decision.
It wasn’t until a couple months later that I started feeling the benefits of doing so:
The number of applications I sent out became a lot more limited
RIT's early decision letters are sent out by mid-January. If the decision letter is not what you hoped for, there is still ample time to apply to other schools.
Possibly a better chance of getting accepted
The volume of applicants for early decision is much smaller than the amount for regular decision. Because of this, the odds of getting accepted may be higher. This is especially true for RIT's highly competitive programs, such as Game Design and Development, Film and Animation, Mechanical, Biomedical, and Chemical Engineering, and Physician Assistant etc.
I enjoyed the end of my senior year instead of being stressed
Early Decision applicants get an earlier notification of merit scholarships and an early financial aid package. As soon as I got my financial aid offer, I sent in my deposit by the deadline and didn't have to stress about college decisions anymore. I didn’t even realize how beneficial that was until the end of April when I saw all of my friends freaking out about how they still hadn’t received a notice or got deferred acceptance. I was able to focus on my school work and finishing out the year strong, plus I got to enjoy my senior year more.
Bottom line - don't be nervous about applying Early Decision! If RIT is your first choice school like it was mine, these benefits and more are well worth it. (The content of this blog has been edited since it's original publication in Nov. 2014 to reflect new dates for Early Decision acceptance notifications and deposit deadlines.)