Early Decision: University of Chicago

by Bethany Goldszer | Last Updated: May 9, 2022

Fall college admissions is less than two months away. Applications are due between October 15th and February 1st. For colleges, the date your application is due depends on the admissions cycle you select. The University of Chicago, for example, has four types of application cycles: Early Action (due November 2), Early Decision I (due November 2), Early Decision II (due January 4), and Regular Decision (due January 4). The admissions cycle you choose depends on different factors, including: 

Ryerson Physical Laboratory at the University of Chicago
  1. Selectivity: How competitive you are as a candidate at the University of Chicago?
  2. Emotional: How much does attending the University of Chicago mean to you?
  3. Financial: How much financial aid do you need to attend the University of Chicago?
University of Chicago Admissions Timeline
University of Chicago Admissions Timeline

I created a series of posts that discuss when to apply Early Decision for top colleges. I hope these posts help you decide which options are best for you. In this post, I discuss Early Decision for the University of Chicago.

What is Early Decision?

In general, the Early Decision applications are due on November 1 or November 15, for the majority of colleges. Early Decision is binding.“Binding” means that you, as the applicant, promises to attend the school if your application is accepted. You should take this obligation seriously because schools honor one another’s binding agreements. If you go back on your early decision obligation to one school, as in our example of Early Decision University of Chicago, you risk not being able to attend another competitive school like Northwestern University. You can request University of Chicago for release from Early Decision for reasons such as the financial aid package offered not being enough to cover your family’s financial needs. This way, you can attend a more affordable college.

Also, you can only apply to one Early Decision college at a time. If you are rejected (or deferred) in December, following a November deadline, you can apply to other colleges under other admissions cycles, such as Early Decision II, or regular decision, typically in early January for the University of Chicago.

How do I know if I should apply Early Decision?

If you are a strong student, then you will have a higher chance of getting into University of Chicago if you apply early. The admissions chances are lower in the regular decision pool.

But remember that if the University of Chicago admits you in an Early Decision round, the offer is binding. You cannot apply to another Early Decision school. If you get admitted by Early Action to any other schools you’re excited about on your list, you will be expected to decline them. If you have applications out to Regular Decision schools, you will be expected to rescind these applications after hearing back from the University of Chicago. You have to be sure that the University of Chicago is the college for you. Take the quiz below to determine if Early Decision is for you. 

Take the Quiz


Answer Key

If you scored at least 4, then you should apply to the University of Chicago in the Early Decision round.

If you scored less than 4, you should continue your college search to find a school that you can apply Early Decision to. Consider other admissions cycles at the University of Chicago, like Early Action or Regular Decision to keep your options open.

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Bethany Goldszer is top college admissions and financial aid expert. She's been featured in HuffPost, USA Today, Newsday, Queens Gazette, and Official Black Wall Street & voted Best of Long Island. Faced with the overwhelming stress of applying, getting admitted to and financing her University of Chicago education, she started Stand Out College Prep LLC in 2012 so that no student or parent would have to go through this process alone. Over the last 15 years, Bethany has worked with over 1,500 students, helping them and their parents get into their top choice colleges and secure more than $20M in financial aid and scholarships. And each year, she continues to help more students stand out in the college admissions process and their parents navigate financial aid and scholarships.