Early Decision at WashU

It was an ordinary Thursday in December when my life changed forever. I had received a notification from my Washington University application portal that the status of my application had changed. The notification instructed me to check the portal immediately to review the status update. My head shot up anxiously towards my sister who was sitting next to me in my bedroom.  She read the email, dialed my mom’s work number on speaker, and relayed to her the situation.

“Open the portal Lex,” my mom encouraged. “I believe in you, always.”

I gripped my sister with one hand and clicked the application portal with the other. My eyes lit up when I saw the words awaiting me on the screen.

“CONGRATULATIONS!! Welcome to the WashU class of 2020, Lexi!”

Two years later, I can still remember the rush of this moment. Each day as I walk the campus of Washington University, all the joy, sleeplessness, worry, and courage of the journey I took to reach this school floods the back of my mind. It produces a sentimental feeling of thankfulness and pride that motivates me to make the most of my time at this university.

While I could have never imagined the vast array of opportunities that have greeted me at WashU or the incredible friendships that I have created in my two years here, I can tell you that I fell in love with the school from the beginning. I visited campus three times before applying early—each time discovering another facet of the school that made it feel so inviting and exciting. Upon each visit, I would see the smiling faces of students, watching them wave to their friends and sometimes even to me. I would feel the sense of community when I watched students greet professors and dining staff by name. I would imagine myself conducting research, studying abroad, or taking part in some of WashU’s 300 different student groups. I felt at home. I was ready to turn my dreams in to a reality.

I made the choice to apply to WashU early decision in October of my senior year. When you apply early decision, you make the commitment that upon the university’s extension of admission, you will attend. This commitment isn’t for everyone, but in my case, it was the most rewarding decision of my life. Here are some of the reasons that I applied early decision:

  1. Fit

WashU met every criterion I had for a university: a community feel, academic and professional opportunities and resources, and a surrounding city in which I could get involved. The ways in which WashU met these criteria exceeded my expectations compared to other schools. I knew that if I was admitted to WashU, I would have no hesitation in attending.

  1. Future Scholarship Opportunities

Applying early allowed me to focus on another aspect of the admissions process that is most often overlooked: scholarships. The remainder of my senior year was spent on scholarship applications instead of college applications. Particularly, I was able to have ample time to apply to WashU’s scholarship program. I applied to the Dean’s scholarship in the Olin Business School and was offered a full-tuition scholarship. I then applied to local scholarships and other WashU merit scholarships and was awarded enough money to cover all expenses my first two years. I can wholeheartedly say that without applying early and having more time to focus on scholarship applications, I would not be a part of the Dean’s program here—the most incredible opportunity and involvement I have ever had.

  1. Connecting with Future Classmates

One of greatest benefits to applying early is the extra time I had get to know my future classmates. By December of my senior year, I was already added to a Facebook page for my class where admitted students began to talk to one another, find roommates, and hear from current students about the opportunities awaiting us in the coming school year. Some of my best friends to this day are students that applied early decision simply because we had the opportunity to form a friendship so early on.

While your admissions deadline does not define your college experience, it can shape it dramatically. Early decision is an incredible way to indicate your interest in a school and then begin connecting with other students and faculty members at the school. Who knows—your life-changing Thursday evening on which you will receive admissions decisions that open the doors to your future may be sooner than you expect. Mine sure was.