TCU will be the third school in Texas to offer the early decision admissions option.
Early decision is an accelerated college application process that normally lets a student know the college's decision of admittance before the second semester of their senior year, Dean of Admission Ray Brown said.
The university announced this decision last month, and it will be applied in the fall semester. Rice and Trinity are currently the only two schools in Texas that have early decision, Brown said.
"People, especially in Texas, really don't have a clue about it," Brown said. "The more schools that can have it, the more of a splash it will be."
TCU and SMU announced on the same day that they are going to add the early decision option in their admission departments. Wes Waggoner, the dean of undergraduate admission at SMU, used to work in TCU admissions, Brown said.
"We wanted to put aside the rivalry of the schools and educate students on the early decision process because it would be in the best interest of students," Waggoner said.
Brown said he and Waggoner had been discussing adding early decision, and when Waggoner left last year, they continued to work toward this goal with their respective departments because they said they thought it was time to institute this action.
"We thought there would be greater strength in numbers if both SMU and TCU announced at the same time, and we are fairly certain that is the case," Brown said.
There are approximately 450 schools in the United States that offer early decision or early action plans, according to College Board.
Almost every school that offers early decision has a higher acceptance rate during that time than the regular admission period. Some acceptance rates are close to 40 percent higher during early decision, according to statistics from US News.
TCU has had early action for many years. The difference between the two is early decision requires a signed contract from the student, guardian and counselor stating that if accepted, they will attend the university and withdraw all applications from other universities. Early decision admittance is also known as a binding decision.
"Early decision is where students have identified TCU as their number one choice," Brown said. "And if accepted, they are saying to TCU, 'I will be there.'"
Junior political science major Derek Boykins said if TCU would have offered early decision when he was applying, he would have more likely done it.
Early action and early decision deadlines are both November 1, but the response time of early decision is December 1, a full month before the response time of the early action option.
"I think the opportunity to have early decision is a great idea," senior political science major Sarah Lonvick said. "Some students have their heart set on a particular school and know what they want to do earlier than others."
Brown said the primary reason TCU is adopting early decision is to determine who out of the large number of applicants is truly interested in the university.
"This will give us a great insight into the level of interest from prospective students," Brown said.
Since this will be TCU's first year using the early decision process, Brown said he is not sure how many applications to expect.
"If we get as many as 400 applicants, we will be very grateful for that," Brown said.