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Lesson Learned for Getting Into Ivy League School

trackmbe3trackmbe3 Registered User Posts: 442 Member
The lesson learned I want to pass on for next years top applicants who aspire to get into one of the 8 Ivy League schools is to apply Early Decision. I can't stress this enough. I recognize this might not be possible for some due to financial concerns, but if your family can afford it or if the Net Price Calculator indicates you will receive enough need based aid for it to be affordable for you to attend, then Early Decision will substantially increase your odds of admission. Anecdotally I know of a few valedictorians and salutatorians this year (with stellar credentials including standardized test scores and research and extracurricular activities) who wanted badly to get into an Ivy League school but were uncertain which one, so they applied to Regular Decision to several Ivy League schools, only to be disappointed at being denied admisson at each on. And yet I know several lesser credentialed applicants who applied Early Decison to an Ivy League school and several of them got accepted or guaranteed transfer for sophomore year.

Replies to: Lesson Learned for Getting Into Ivy League School

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,999 Senior Member
    The thing about ED or SCEA is that the acceptance rate is higher, BUT there is a big but. Many students who apply early are already very qualified. As a group, they are more qualified than the RD group. So unless you are highly qualified, early isn't the big advantage people think it is. Furthermore, the vast majority of athletes apply early, which also skews the acceptance rate.

    Bottom line, if you are not exceptional or hooked, SCEA/ED doesn't help as much as you think it does.
    From Harvard's website: Harvard does not offer an advantage to students who apply early. Higher Early Action acceptance rates reflect the remarkable strength of Early Action pools. For any individual student, the final decision will be the same whether the student applies Early Action or Regular Decision.

    Other colleges in the tippy tops are much the same. Brown publishes acceptance rates of Vals and Sals. Something like 23% and 18% of them are accepted. There isn't room at all the tippy tops just for Vals and Sals.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    edited August 5
    @Lindagaf SCEA doesn't help one bit, but ED helps quite a bit. Look at the websites for schools that use ED and there stats (Penn even says outright ED helps you get in), IOW not HYPS. The difference between ED and RD is very significant. The OP is correct, you're mixing up SCEA with ED.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,999 Senior Member
    edited August 5
    @CU123 , I said it isn't as big an advantage as people think it is. If you aren't extremely well-qualified, you aren't getting in just by applying early. Not mixing things up. Yes, the difference can be significant for well -qualified applicants, so perhaps I should stress the well-qualified aspect.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    edited August 5
    True no one with sub 30 ACT scores are getting in because of ED however so many students with GPA3.8-4.0/ACT 32-36 are getting denied at all there reach schools because the a) wasted there early admission on SCEA and got deferred to RD b) applied RD everywhere else. If something doesn't really stick out in your app giving you high confidence in getting accepted SCEA, you should apply RD to SCEA schools. If you have a very close second choice school that is ED, I would go for ED to that school to maximize your chances. UChicago is an extreme example of this, RD was 2% for 2017 and ED was approaching 30% (while not announced the math for this wasn't too hard). This is brought about by the adcoms having 60% of the admitted class that lamenting the fact that they didn't get into HYPS, with ED they reverse that.
  • CariñoCariño Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
    Sorry @Lindagaf, but OP and @CU123 are totally right. There is an indisputable advantage in applying SCEA and ED.
    And I totally disagree with the idea that the poll of applicants are stronger for those applications; on the opposite, there are many less qualified students that apply early to see if the luck is with them. Just to get the shot. At least it is what I saw in my daughter's school. 4 accepted in Harvard (all SCEA), 4 in Yale (3 SCEA), 6 in UChicago (1 EA and 4 ED), 5 UPenn (4 ED), 2 MIT (both EA)...And many many good students, with even better qualifications (and hooks) were waitlisted and rejected in RD from those schools. For those schools yield is super important. And by applying EA or ED, the students show that that university is their favorite.. obviously that is what colleges want: the greatest number of accepted students attending in the fall.
  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,579 Senior Member
    OP, this is too broad and ancedotal to be valid. Were you accepted to Penn ED? Yes, Penn is blunt that ED gives a boost. That can't be generalized to other schools that offer ED. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale offer SCEA, not ED. Not sure about the other Ivies.

    SCEA does not offer a boost and can hurt because the application pool is stronger. Higher admit rates from SCEA come from athletes with prereads, legacies, and a pool of the top of the top applicants.

    Each school is different. Each application is different. It's difficult to say why one student was accepted and one was not when stats are relatively equal.

  • AsianArnoldAsianArnold Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Would coming from a disadvantaged, low-income mostly minority city be considered a hook? For example, I'm currently the Valedictorian with a very solid academic record, extracurriculars, and background; I live in Bridgeport, CT (one of the worst cities in the U.S.). I also don't think many kids from bad cities in CT who are really qualified will apply; will I have an edge?
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,306 Senior Member
    Depends, it could be if your overall situation showed you had few advantages in your life compared to other applicants, but you made the most of them.
  • AsianArnoldAsianArnold Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thanks for your insight! However, generally speaking, colleges, such as Yale for example, in their SCEA round, they are still looking for applicants from different socioeconomic backgrounds, correct?
  • CALSmomCALSmom Registered User Posts: 443 Member
    edited August 7
    Cornell's C/O 2020 stats showed that ED odds were definitely better than RD:

    ED Applicants: 4,882 / Admits: 1,340 (27.4%)
    RD Applicants: 40,083 / Admits: 4,997 (12.5%)

    6.6% of total admits were recruited athletes and not all were admitted via ED.

    For Cornell C/O 2021 the ED rate was 25.6% and RD 12.5%

    I'd agree with OP that ED chances are higher but one must be really sure about the school, which in the case of choosing an Ivy is not that difficult as each one is very distinct...a student will know which one is the best fit for them.
  • tdy123tdy123 Registered User Posts: 333 Member
    Just came across this thread. Two thoughts immediately came to mind:

    1) Without running the numbers, it is clear that well under half of IVY admits were ED applicants and none of them were admitted to Yale, Princeton or Harvard (EA only)

    2) The problem with anecdotal "evidence"

    The OP wrote "Anecdotally I know of a few valedictorians and salutatorians this year (with stellar credentials including standardized test scores and research and extracurricular activities) who wanted badly to get into an Ivy League school but were uncertain which one, so they applied to Regular Decision to several Ivy League schools, only to be disappointed at being denied admisson at each"

    Take the top two students from each of the 37,000 public and private High Schools in the US, call them valedictorian or salutatorian, and you have 74,000 kids, the vast majority of which will be "disappointed at being denied admission at each (ivy)" not because they neglected to apply early, but because there are under 15,000 freshman slots in all IVY's combined.
  • Kayak24Kayak24 Registered User Posts: 348 Member
    Reviving this thread because I’m interested in more opinions...Does ED give a significant boost?

    @tdy123 , you raise a good point about there being only 15,000 freshmen slots in all IVYs combined, but there are a lot of Vals and Sals with their sights set on other schools such as their state flagship or esteemed non-Ivy colleges such as Stanford, MIT, UChicago and then places like ND, Tufts, Vanderbilt, JHU, Duke, etc. for various reasons. I saw one poster make a claim that essentially these colleges are vying for those tippy top students (high standardized test scorers included) to keep up their own numbers game. Food for thought.
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