Weaseling out of Early Decision agreements unethical

February 13, 2017 — by Emily Chen

With the Early Decision option at some schools, students may send their applications at an earlier deadline as long as they agree to attend the school if admitted. While uncommon, some students who are accepted into their Early Decision schools do not follow through with their agreement by continuing to apply to other schools, and go so far as to commit to a different school.

 

“Congratulations.”

Upon seeing this word in the first line of their college Early Decision results, seniors can breath of sigh of relief and celebrate. The stress of completing college applications and the anxiety waiting for results is now over — they’re going to college!

Shouldn’t that be enough?

With the Early Decision option at some schools, students may send their applications at an earlier deadline as long as they agree to attend the school if admitted. While uncommon, some students who are accepted into their Early Decision schools do not follow through with their agreement by continuing to apply to other schools, and go so far as to commit to a different school.

In the process, these students put much at stake as they seek to cheat the college application process. Universities often discover applicants who break the deal, and, according to US News, the students’ Early Decision schools as well as the other schools the students applied to may take back their acceptances.

There are certain circumstances, though, in which some colleges may allow for students to ethically get out of the contract. For example, if the financial aid given to the student by the university is not sufficient help for the student, the university may release the student without any consequences. Unfortunately, some students try to exploit this loophole to get out of the contract, despite having the necessary college funds.

Aside from putting themselves in jeopardy, these individuals enter the college admissions process without proper preparedness; students should thoroughly research schools and understand the conditions of applying Early Decision before doing so.

Applying Early Decision won’t necessarily increase chance of admissions, as many colleges say, so if students are not certain that the school is the right fit, they should apply Regular Decision.

It’s just not ethical to give your word and purposely back out of the situation — even if typing your name in the online application may not feel like a legitimate way to sign a contract.

The bottom line is that students who are applying to college, a place where they presumably learn to live independently, should be mature enough to respect agreements, plan ahead and understand the implications of their actions.

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