If Oberlin is your first choice college, you may be interested in applying Early Decision. This option allows you to submit your application and to receive an admissions decision well in advance of the regular deadlines.

When you apply Early Decision, you tell us that you see Oberlin as the perfect fit for you and that you will definitely enroll if admitted. We recognize the significance of that commitment, and will give you special consideration during the application review process. While all students must demonstrate the ability to thrive academically at Oberlin, our holistic review also considers personal factors, such as fit and enthusiasm for Oberlin, which you demonstrate by submitting an Early Decision application. In recent years, about one third of first-year students in the College of Arts and Sciences have enrolled through an Early Decision plan.

Early Decision at Oberlin is binding, meaning if you apply to Oberlin through Early Decision and are admitted, we expect you to enroll. When applying Early Decision, you make a commitment to Oberlin, so you may not apply as an Early Decision candidate to any other college. However, regular (non-binding) applications to other colleges may be prepared and submitted as a contingency plan. If admitted to Oberlin, you will be required to withdraw those applications.


Oberlin has two rounds of Early Decision. If you discover Oberlin later in the process, you can still take advantage of applying Early Decision. Applications from both rounds of Early Decision will be treated equally in the application review process. The Early Decision application and financial aid deadlines are: 

Steps Early Decision I Early Decision II
Application Deadline November 15 January 2
Financial Aid Deadline November 15 January 2
Notification December 15 February 1
Reply/Deposit Due* January 2 February 15

Early Decision applicants should follow the same application requirements as all other first-year applicants, with one important exception. The Early Decision Agreement form is required of all Early Decision applicants. We cannot begin reviewing your application until we have received this form.

Financial Aid

For families intending to apply for financial aid, we offer an early estimate of your financial aid package so you can know the full cost of an Oberlin education before committing to Early Decision. This includes consideration for merit-based scholarships.

Please submit the following documents by the deadlines below in order to receive your estimated award prior to the Early Decision application deadline. 

Required Information to Obtain an Early Financial Aid Estimate

Deadline for Early Decision I

Deadline for Early Decision II

1. Online Early Estimate Request Form

October 31

December 15

2. CSS Profile (available Oct. 1)

October 31

December 15

3. Non-Custodial Parent Statement (if applicable)

October 31

December 15

All early estimates will be sent via email beginning in early November for Early Decision I and mid-December for Early Decision II.

Absolutely. The purpose of the early estimate is to help families preview what their financial aid package might look like if you are admitted before making the commitment to apply early. If you have missed these deadlines, you may still send us your materials, but you might not receive your estimated award in advance of the admissions application deadline.

If you choose not to submit an early estimate, rest assured that you may still apply for and be considered for financial aid at Oberlin as long as you have met the appropriate deadlines.

If you have any questions about financial aid, please call the Office of Financial Aid at 1-800-693-3173 or send them an email at financial.aid@oberlin.edu.

Double Degree Applicants

The Early Decision option is available for admission to the College of Arts and Sciences only. Double Degree Program applicants may apply Early Decision to the College of Arts and Sciences, but should only do so if they intend to enroll at the College of Arts and Sciences even if they are not admitted to the Conservatory of Music.