Is Early Decision right for you? (A letter from the Dean)

Portrait of Bob McCullough

Applications for Early Action (EA) and Early Decision I (ED) at Case Western Reserve University are due Nov. 1. I’m often asked about the pros and cons of applying Early Decision (a binding decision plan) versus Early Action or Regular Decision (which are non-binding).

Is it easier to be admitted if I apply ED?

Will I be offered the same amount of financial aid if I apply ED?

Are ED applicants considered for merit scholarships?

CWRU is my first choice...should I apply ED?


All good questions during a noisy and busy time for you!

If Case Western Reserve University is at the top of your list, I’d love to help you consider the value of applying Early Decision. Early Decision is a binding agreement, stating that the university is your first choice and if you are admitted you will enroll.

We love Early Decision students! They are the first members of a new class. The momentum created by enrolling high-quality students who know CWRU is the place for them is as exciting for us on campus as it is for the applicants who picture themselves in University Circle doing great things.

Is it easier to be admitted as an Early Decision applicant? 

Here’s the reality: A large portion of our applicant pool is “admissible”—in other words, they represent the accomplishments, motivation and preparation we value. But we can only make so many offers of admission as we build our incoming class. There simply isn’t room on our campus for everyone we would like to admit. During the Early Action and Regular Decision processes, less than half of those “admissible” students make their way to being admitted. A much higher proportion of “admissible” Early Decision I and II applicants are offered admission - typically over 80%.

Is there a difference in financial aid awards for ED students (or EA or Regular Decision)? 

This one is easy: Nope! We meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, regardless of their admission plan. (You may want to review our financial aid application requirements if you have not already started this process.)

Merit scholarships? 

Our philosophy here is the same. We recognize students for their achievements and their potential to make significant impacts on our campus. Merit scholarships are not tied to a decision plan. 

Should I apply Early Decision? 

If you see yourself at CWRU, it’s easy for me to encourage you to apply! But this question is not as easy for me to answer, as it really is about you. Where will you thrive? Where will you find challenge and encouragement? Where will you be impactful? 

I see our first-year students making meaningful connections on campus and receiving the support they need to thrive from day one. I can't wait to see you here having the same experiences. If you can, too, we’d love to see your application!

Start your application