My Experiences with Early Decision and Finding My Niche

"My advice: stay true to yourself. Finding the right program for you is crucial."

Hi everyone! My name is Bri Zabierek and I am a first-year SPT at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS in short). When I applied during the 2017-2018 cycle, I chose to do early decision, or ED. Some people have heard of it, some people have not. So here’s my experiences with ED, what it means and things to consider when applying! 

First things first – What is early decision? Basically, ED is binding option to your first-choice school. You submit your materials very early – like within 2 months of the application opening – and if you’re accepted to that one school, you’re in. Your process is over. The catch is, it involves ONE program and NOT ALL programs accept ED applicants. So why did I want to do ED? Why did I commit my chances of being accepted to only one program so early? Well, I found my favorite program and I wanted in. That’s why.

This brings me to my second topic. If you’re thinking of doing ED, really consider everything that goes into choosing a program. Who are you as a person? What are your core values and interests? Is your dream school even on the list? In my experience with this ED process, I asked myself all these questions. I needed to find a program that resonated with my core values: leadership and camaraderie. I merely glanced over the system that RFUMS has and I was elated. To me, it was unique, welcoming, and innovative. I loved the curriculum and the location was perfect. It just so happened to be on the ED list and I went for it. Honestly, the whole process of finding RFUMS and choosing to go the ED happened so quickly. But when I found their program, I knew it was for me.

Lastly, the good and bad that comes with ED. I really enjoyed how it forced me to get all of my application materials in so quickly. This way, even if I was waitlisted on that one school, I was still getting my materials in by September. It also was enticing because if I got in, I was done! I truly believe that no matter what happens after you get a response, you’re in a good position. There are some caveats, though. Being waitlisted or denied early-on can cause some emotional distress. It also prevents you from being able to send many applications out early on to increases your chances of acceptance. For some people, even though they so badly want to do ED, their top-choice isn’t on the list. But don’t choose a program just because it offers ED. Find a program that fits YOU. ED isn’t for everyone, so recognize it is an option, but don’t make it a necessity.

My advice: stay true to yourself. Finding the right program for you is crucial. Identify what is most important to you, and if it’s included in ED, great. If not, stick with it. Is the school top in the nation? Is the program close to home? Is the program in an area you want to experience? What are you willing to spend for your degree? What will you accomplish within the curriculum? Answer those questions honestly and you may find out the program that’s best for you isn’t what you expected at all – and that’s okay.

-Bri Zabierek, SPT



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