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Why I Applied Early Decision

Hannah talks about her choice to commit early to Carleton.

Hannah talks about her choice to commit early to Carleton.

It’s officially October everyone! You know what that means… it’s spooky season! On that note, it means that we are also about a month away from Carleton’s Fall Early Decision deadline. I don’t mean to stress anyone out with that info, but if you’re trying to decide which application date is right for you, I’m here with some insight. Right off the bat, Carleton has three application deadlines:

  • Fall Early Decision: November 15
  • Winter Early Decision: January 15
  • Regular Decision: January 15

Besides these application deadlines, there are other ways to apply, such as through QuestBridge or as a transfer student.

One year ago, I was a worried senior sending in college applications.

I applied to about 8-10 schools, most through Regular Decision (RD), but two through Early Action (EA) and one Early Decision (ED).

If you are unfamiliar with the term, Early Decision means that if you are accepted at the institution, you are committed to the school. People typically apply ED because it is slightly less competitive during that round of admission, and they have a better chance of being accepted into their number one choice.

Disclaimer: You might not know what your number one choice is, or if you want to commit to one school right away. That is okay! Early Decision is not for everyone.

If you are accepted under this decision type, you are required to rescind all other applications to other colleges and universities. You may be thinking, “Whoa! That’s a big commitment.” So how did I decide to make that commitment? That is a great question. Personally, I find myself struggling with choosing what to eat for lunch in the dining hall everyday, because decisions are hard! (I’m a Libra, what can I say.)

Why Carleton?

I had a couple main reasons that helped push me towards the final decision to apply early. Now, I am a very indecisive person, and the college application process was no exception. I had visited schools (both in-person and online), and when it came down to it, Carleton just felt right. I first heard about Carleton the summer before my junior year, when I was able to see campus in person. Though Carleton was one of the first schools I toured, I couldn’t help but compare it to every other school I toured afterwards. There was something about the school that made me keep thinking about it.

There were so many qualities about Carleton that seemed too good to be true. The beautiful Arboretum (a lot of outdoor green space was important to me), the alumni network, people’s passion for learning, and even the Dacie Moses House (a.k.a. the Cookie House)! After a quick search of alumni, I even found out that Chris Kratt, someone who had been teaching me animal facts on PBS Kids since I can remember, also went to Carleton.

Why was I hesitant?

Originally, because I’m from Minnesota, I thought I wanted to be far away from my home state so that I could explore new places and people. (Little did I know that I would be meeting plenty of different people with a variety of backgrounds.) I looked at schools on the East Coast, hundreds of miles from my house. But as my mail pile from schools got bigger and bigger, the classic Carleton navy and maize postcards would always wink at me from among the college pamphlets. I knew that despite being in Minnesota, Carleton was going to be one of my top choices.

The summer before my senior year, I toured again (this time online) and signed up for an interview. I think it was the interview that finally convinced me to take the leap and apply Early Decision. The person who interviewed me happened to have been really involved in speech when they were in high school, just like me, and we talked for an hour about Carleton, speech, book recommendations, and everything in between.

The Carleton ability to talk about anything and everything was one of the key draws for me. People here are so passionate and enthusiastic about learning and life. Everyone I spoke to as a prospective student, whether a coach, professor, or a student, was genuinely invested in having a conversation with me. On top of that, everyone is so friendly! Even as a Minnesotan, known for the classic “Minnesota nice” attitude, I am still surprised at the amount of people who say “hi” to me on campus everyday.

The final decision

From the vibe of the campus, to the kindness of the people, this college felt like a place where I could thrive. Because financial aid really impacted my college choices, I used Carleton’s net price calculator before applying Early Decision to assure that I could afford to attend if I was accepted. Luckily, Carleton is a need-based school, and they strive to “meet 100% of every student’s demonstrated need.” Following the submission of my application, I anxiously waited for the December 15th decision date (another pro about applying Early Decision: you get your decision sooner).

Because I am writing this blog post, it is safe to assume I was accepted.

Did I make the right choice?

In retrospect, Carleton being in Minnesota isn’t even a concern I should have had. I love having four seasons (maybe talk to people who don’t like winter) and being close to my family (2.5ish hours is still kind of far). The school doesn’t feel too small because there are so many opportunities to explore outside of Carleton. My classes and professors have been awesome. I have met so many interesting new people, and I haven’t even been here a month. To conclude, I am happy to say that I don’t regret my choice to apply Early Decision at all.

Hannah is a freshman interested in Political Science and learning as much as she can about whatever she can. Born and raised in Minnesota, she considers herself somewhat of an expert on MN winters. She can’t wait for ice skating on the Bald Spot and Nordic skiing in the Arb, along with exploring all of the other amazing opportunities and activities on campus! When Hannah isn’t in class, she can be found reading, running for the Carleton Track team, watching TikToks, and tutoring with the Northfield Read and Counts Program. Meet the other bloggers!