I am a rising Senior, and given how my stats are (3.55 w uptrending GPA w/ hopefully a 1450-1500 SAT), I think it's most logical to apply ED1 to Tulane. I am definitely going to apply for need-based financial aid if I were to get in. I have a bunch of spike ECs and I've basically done my best to show interest so I think I have a fighting chance. I like Tulane because of its social environment, nice people, and general location.
I'm wondering if that's a good decision given how my GPA isn't really that competitive even at Tulane or should I pursue another school. Current possible ED1 schools are: BC, Emory, NYU (If there are other medium sized research universities that are good please let me know)
I am also wondering if pursuing ED1 at Tulane would lower my chances of getting financial aid.
While it makes sense statistically to apply to Tulane ED1 if you do get admitted you will be obligated for the most part to attend Tulane regardless of whether you or your family are satisfied with Tulane's financial aid package.
Of course, you can attempt to appeal any financial aid award however unless it is way out of whack, you may not have much wiggle room with Tulane. In that case, you can ask to be legally relieved of your ED agreement based on your inability to attend for financial reasons.
Once released, you can apply RD to other colleges. While this gives you an out, what it does is create a lot of stress and headaches during the college admissions process.
Therefore, I would figure out your NPC, Net Price Calculation at all the colleges on your list and see if you and your parents agree on your college list. You might want to do that right away. If any colleges have a high NPC like $30,000, you might want to find alternatives now versus later. Typically NPCs are fairly accurate unless your family has other assets that pay dividends like Trusts or Equity positions in companies or things not captured on the NPC questionnaire. So just make sure everyone in your family is okay with the NPCs for the colleges on your list prior to applying to any of them ED1 or ED2.
Once you do the NPC analysis for say 10 colleges you will see how good Tulanes' finaid is compared to the rest of them. Personally, I think Tulane is more of a buyer school than a seller school so they are going to want to attract students who want some Merit Aid discount versus attracting a lot of lower-income cohorts.
Unless you are super excited about the idea of attending Tulane, and you would find a way to make it work even if your aid package wasn't that great, I would recommend applying ED1 to Boston College. BC is the only option you listed that meets 100% of every student's financial need. If you are accepted as an ED applicant, you will likely get more aid than RD applicants because of your demonstrated interest. Hope this helps!
I think Tulane is fine, but the early decision is restricted to 1 school. If Tulane is at the top of your list, go for it. However, if another school is the school, you're most interested in maybe pursuing that. I would also suggest looking into ED2 and early action. Wake-forest University, Rice University, Tufts, and Boston College are some medium-sized private schools you might want to look into.
To keep this community safe and supportive: