Is Early Decision the right choice for you?


If you are reading this blog, chances are pretty good that you have already taken some of the steps necessary to making this decision. Perhaps you’ve signed up for our mailing list, received our #EmbraceTheS cards (and built something awesome with them—check out some creations here:, and checked out our website. Maybe you’ve read current student blogs on Hopkins Interactive or visited campus.

Now, you find yourself reading this in early fall, wondering if applying to Johns Hopkins as an Early Decision applicant is the way to go. You’ve done your homework and have come to the decision that Hopkins is the right fit for you, but there’s one thing left to consider: will you be applying Regular Decision (RD) or Early Decision (ED)?

Continue reading to learn more about the ED option at Johns Hopkins.

What is Early Decision?

The Early Decision plan is a binding option for students who know that Johns Hopkins is their first-choice college. Applying ED means that you are committed to coming to Hopkins if you’re admitted, and we’ll ask admitted ED students to remove their applications from any other schools. You should only apply to one college under an ED plan, although you may still apply Early Action or Regular Decision to other schools.

Important things to note, and two of our most common questions about applying ED:

  • Is it easier to get in by applying ED? Not necessarily. While the admit rate is higher during ED, that can be a bit misleading. Keep in mind that most students who apply early have been working very hard in high school, have prepared a strong application, and are ready to apply by November 3. The application review process is the same and profiles of students admitted in ED and RD are nearly identical. We’re still looking for the students who are the best fit for JHU.
  • Does applying ED affect your financial Aid package? No. Admitted students receive a financial aid offer along with their admission notification; the financial aid packages would look the same whether that student was admitted in December or April.

The pros of applying ED:

  • The deadline is sooner, so you will have your decision sooner. Since applications are due on November 3, we let students know of their decisions by December 15. The turn-around here is much quicker than the Regular Decision process because we have fewer applications to review. If you are admitted in ED, you’ve found your home and can focus on the rest of your senior year (yes, we will do a final transcript check!). If you are deferred or denied, you still have time to apply to other institutions.
  • We are looking at a smaller applicant pool. While we are still looking for the same qualities in our prospective students, there are far fewer applicants in ED. Last year, we had 1,400+ applicants in the Early Decision pool versus 20,000+ applicants in the Regular Decision pool.
  • You are making a statement. As we evaluate applicants, we are looking for students who are going to embrace being a Blue Jay and take advantage of all aspects of both academic and campus life. By signing the Early Decision Agreement, you are telling us that you are that person and clearly interested in being a part of our community.

Things to consider:

  • The agreement is a binding commitment. Therefore, you cannot change your mind. Many students have visited campus, had contact with students and faculty members, knew someone that went to JHU, etc., and know that it is the school for them. If you haven’t done the research to know that you definitely want to enroll here if admitted, you may want to consider applying RD instead.
  • It offers less time to show senior-year improvement. Maybe you struggled in a class last semester, or you’re just getting back on track after a slight academic decline.  Because all of your transcripts and information for ED needs to be submitted by November 3, you have less of an opportunity to show any improvements that happen in between November and January, when Regular Decision applications are due. Some students will benefit from having the additional time to show an upward trend during their senior year through their mid-year grades.

How do you make the decision whether or not to apply ED to Johns Hopkins?

As I mentioned before, before applying ED to Johns Hopkins—or any other school—you want to be sure that this is the place you want to live and learn for the next four years. One of our Admissions Counselors here really highlights this idea in a very simple sentence: “This is the first time in your life that you get to decide where you live.” Up to this point, your parents or other outside factors have determined what town you live in, which house you live in, and what school you go to. This is the first time where you are the driver of this decision. Exploring the schools you’re considering—your future home—will help you make that choice.

The strongest ED candidates at Johns Hopkins have researched our academic programs. They know we offer majors, minors, and other ways to study the fields they are truly passionate about. At the same time, they understand, and are ready to take advantage of, our unique liberal arts education and opportunities to become active participants in their education. They have experienced Baltimore and have fallen in love with the quirky shops and restaurants in Hampden, the local hangouts in Fells Point, Little Italy, Canton, and Fed Hill. They’ve come to the conclusion that Hopkins is the right FIT for them and that they are a good FIT for Hopkins.

Be it now, or after you’ve learned more about us, if you find that Hopkins is your number one choice, and you’re excited to contribute to our Homewood campus and surrounding community, Early Decision is the choice for you!

For more details about applying ED and a list of FAQ, visit

4 thoughts on “Is Early Decision the right choice for you?

  1. Thanks!! Im an American learning from Kenya so college application process is kind of foreign though this article has cleared up alot of my grey areas.

  2. The Admissions Committee can deny admission at the ED review, meaning you cannot apply again as a Regular Decision applicant. Alternatively, some students who are not admitted Early Decision are deferred and re-evaluated as Regular Decision candidates.

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