International Students and Early Decision
For an international applicant, an Early Decision application can improve his or her chances of admission, but the applicant must be aware of certain stipulations. First, the applicant must keep in mind that an Early Decision is (in all likelihood) binding, meaning that the student must be prepared to attend that school next fall. If the school is not a clear first choice, then the student should not apply ED. Secondly, the applicant must have a good sense of cost in mind. Even "need-blind" schools are often need aware with international applicants, and financial aid can be much more challenging when a student cannot qualify for Pell Grants or Stafford Loans. If the international applicant is in a position to pay full tuition, then an ED plan can work well. If the applicant needs aid, then he or she must contact the financial aid office to see what works. Keep in mind that an applicant CAN be released from a binding Early Decision in the event of financial strain.