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College Guidance Q & A

As students work on their college applications, they must consider the different admission plans (including Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision, among others) and the implications of each selection. This week's question to Larry pertains to an Early Decision application.

Q: Can I back out of my ED agreement with Claremont McKenna if I get into a better school? I applied to Harvard/Stanford/Columbia RD and am worried I will get into one of them but have to attend CMC.

A: Your high school counselor, one of your parents, and you, all signed the Early Decision agreement when you applied to CMC. In that agreement you agreed to withdraw all other applications if accepted but you reneged on that promise, taking a seat that could have been offered to a student obviously more deserving than you are. You might get caught, and if you do you will lose your seat at CMC, plus you will be rejected by the others. If that happens, it will be a direct consequence of your own bad behavior.

Furthermore, your counselor is duty bound not to send your mid-year report to any of your Regular Decision schools. If that best practice is honored, you will be spared the consequences of your bad intentions.

If you have questions about college admissions or would like to learn more about our services, please contact us at

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