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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Does early decision mean you have to go there?

If I apply to a college through early decision and I get accepted, am I obligated to attend that school? What happens if I change my mind or my financial situation changes?

8 months ago

Absolutely, early decision (ED) applications are binding, which means that if you apply ED to a college and are accepted, you are contractually committed to attend that institution. The only exception is if the financial aid package does not make attendance feasible. In that case, you can typically discuss your situation with the financial aid office. They may offer additional aid or, in some cases, release you from the ED agreement if it's clear that the cost of attendance is beyond what you and your family can manage.

If you change your mind for reasons other than financial hardship, it is very difficult to break an early decision agreement without facing potential consequences. There's an ethical component at play here, as when you apply ED, it's a signal to the college that you're committed to them and only them, which indirectly impacts their evaluation of students who apply during the regular decision round. Additionally, schools communicate among themselves, and reneging on an ED agreement without a valid reason could jeopardize your admission to other institutions should they find out.

To summarize, it's extremely important that you're certain about wanting to attend a particular college, potential changes to your financial situation aside, before you apply there early decision. If you don't feel comfortable applying early decision, that's completely fine—there's also the regular decision round, for students just like you!

8 months ago

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