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Applying Early Decision to Clark

Each year, many Clark applicants choose to apply early decision. It’s one of three ways incoming first-year students can choose to submit their application, and we’re here to break down the benefits and tradeoffs of this early, binding admissions plan. Ultimately, when and how you apply to Clark is your choice, and we’re excited to read your application!

NEW FOR 2021-22

Clark now guarantees to meet 100% of demonstrated need for all early decision (ED) applicants. To qualify, we must receive your financial aid application materials by the admissions deadline. All accepted students will receive a preliminary financial aid award with their admit packet.

What is Early Decision at Clark?

Early Decision (ED) is a binding agreement you make with Clark. By applying ED, you are indicating that Clark is your top choice. If you are admitted, you are asked to withdraw applications from other schools and enroll at Clark early. To qualify for ED, your school counselor, a parent or guardian, and you must sign and submit the ED Agreement form along with your application. You must also apply by one of our two ED deadlines: Nov. 15 and Jan. 15.

Benefits of Early Decision

  • Your application is read first, before our early action and regular decision applicants in each respective deadline.
  • You hear back from us sooner. Early Decision I applicants can expect to hear back before the end of December, and Early Decision II applicants can expect to hear back before the end of February.
  • You know where you’re going to college. Because you hear back from Clark so quickly, and because you enroll right away, you have an answer to the question, “Where are you going to school next year?”
  • You are done with the college search process. No need to stress about the May 1 Decision Day — you’re already a Clarkie!
  • You have more time to meet your future peers. Join our admitted student social media groups, attend visit days, and start connecting with your future classmates, hall mates, and teammates in January and February.
  • You show us you want to be here — and we value that interest. By applying ED, you are telling us that you want to be part of our community. That interest is important to your success at Clark, so we take it very seriously.
  • We meet 100% of demonstrated need for all ED applicants.

Tradeoffs of Early Decision

  • You won’t be able to compare offers of admission from other colleges. If you are considering Clark strongly among several institutions but have not identified us as your top choice, we do not recommend applying early decision.
  • You can only pick one ED school. By signing the ED Agreement form, you are committing to apply only to one school early decision. This is why your school counselor co-signs the agreement — they keep you accountable to the bind you are making with Clark.

Common Myths About Early Decision

Myth #1

If I am accepted ED but can’t afford to attend, I’m trapped.

When you apply to Clark, your need-based financial aid forms are due at the same time. This way, we can give you a preliminary financial aid award with your acceptance. If, after working with the Clark Office of Financial Assistance, you are still unable to afford a Clark education, you may ask to be released from the binding agreement. Plus, Clark meets 100 percent of demonstrated need for all ED applicants, so you will not be asked to pay for college outside of your means.

Myth #2

If I apply ED, I’ll get a low scholarship award (or no scholarships at all) because I’m guaranteed to enroll.

At Clark, we consider every student equally for merit-based scholarships. Period. We do not penalize students for showing interest in attending Clark through the ED plans, nor do we reserve funds for students who apply later.

Myth #3

I shouldn’t apply ED if I am applying for financial aid.

Concern about finances is one of the most cited reasons that students choose not to apply early decision. With Clark’s commitment to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need for ED applicants, the ability to break the bind if you are financially unable to attend, and the receipt of a preliminary financial aid award upon acceptance, the early decision plan is financially generous, safe, and flexible.

Application Plans

Early Decision Early Action Regular Decision
Binding — you can only apply to one school ED. Non-binding — you can apply to multiple schools EA. Non-binding — you can apply to multiple schools RD.
Multiple deadlines (Nov. 15 and Jan. 15). One deadline (Nov. 15). One deadline (Jan. 15).
You hear back from us early. You hear back from us early. You hear back from us latest, before the end of March.
You enroll right away, withdrawing applications from other schools. You enroll by May 1. You enroll by May 1.
You receive a preliminary financial aid award with your acceptance. You receive a preliminary financial aid award with your acceptance. You receive a preliminary financial aid award with your acceptance.
You are considered for merit scholarships automatically. You are considered for merit scholarships automatically. You are considered for merit scholarships automatically.
Application fee is $0. Application fee is $0. Application fee is $0.
Contact Information

Undergraduate Admissions

Undergraduate Admissions Office
Office Hours
  • 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday

    Selected Saturdays in the Fall and Spring