When does it make sense to apply Early Decision?

Hi all. I’m a 42-year old career changer. I am very tied to a specific geographic area as I am unwilling to relocate my family to pursue a career in medicine (at least at this time). Because of this, I plan to apply to the only two schools that are within commuting distance. There is a competitive MD school in my city and a less competitive MD school about an hour away. As with most non-traditional premeds, time away from family is a major concern for me, and so I have a strong first preference to attend the closer school. My MCAT score is exactly at the closer school’s median, while it is over the 90th percentile score for the school that is farther away. I think I may have a good chance to get in at the closer school, but I am definitely not the “very strong” applicant they mention on their website when discussing their early decision process. Is there any advantage to applying early decision to my 1st choice school, in other words, would the fact that I opted to apply early decision make me any more attractive to them as a candidate than if I applied the regular way, with submitting my application to both schools in early June?

Another question: for non-traditional applicants that have been out of school for a very long time (15+ years for me), how important is my GPA from nearly two decades ago? Do schools give more weight to the MCAT score in this case as an indicator of my current abilities? With the trends in grade inflation, might my older GPA look “better” than an equivalent number from a current student?

Thanks for any help or advice!

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I’m in a similar situation and am applying early to the only Medical school in town here. I have spoken with the admissions director who told me that out of 10,000 regular admission applicants, only 5-10 apply ED! That’s a huge difference! Medical schools actually really try to figure out if you’re seriously interested in attending there so I’d see that as an advantage. Definitely apply early to that school that’s close to you.