As the legal arguments around affirmative action make it toward the top of the national news feed, it seems like a good time to re-post my piece from this time last year, “What’s wrong with affirmative action?”.
Not all universities offer an Early Decision option, and each one might have its own fun little stipulations and rules. But the basic idea of Early Decision is that you turn in your application early, you get a decision from the school early, and if you get accepted you agree to go there and withdraw any other applications you may have also sent. This requirement that you enroll if you're accepted is why Early Decision is usually referred to as "binding." Early Decision is often confused with Early Action, which I'll write about separately next week. But for today, remember that Early Decision is exactly what it sounds like: you decide early that you really want to go this school; they decide early if they're going to accept you; if they do, then it's decided--early--that you will definitely go there.
So what makes the Ivy League schools so special? A few things. One is that they're old, so they've had a lot more time than many universities to differentiate themselves. Harvard is the oldest college in the U.S., founded in 1636. Cornell is the young one of the league, founded in 1865. The other six were all founded in the 18th century.
Today we hear from Gisele, possibly the most upbeat, optimistic, and enthusiastic student I ever taught. She's now at Dartmouth. I asked Gisele to tell me about when she changed majors and why she took a gap year to pursue a music project, and her responses surprised me. Plus, she's still considering making some tweaks even after coming to terms with what she wants.