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The numbers show that the acceptance rate for non-recruited athletic students is higher ED than RD (15% compared to less than 8%). Interpret that however you wish.
To quote fenwaypark:
"There is anecdotal speculation that a high percentage of legacy applicants/celebrities/development cases/Rhode Islanders apply ED. But no one posting here can claim that this is true unless they also say they are affiliated with the Office of Admission or otherwise have inside information."
Keep in mind that almost all recruited athletes (probably somewhere in the range of 200) apply and are accepted EA, as do most legacies and the children of faculty. The unhooked acceptance rate is probably closer to that of RD.
When deciding to admit a student during the early cycle, “we want to be not 99 percent certain, but 100 percent certain that we would also admit the person later,” Fitzsimmons said.
Fitzsimmons also cautioned against the notion that applying early would bolster a student’s odds of admission, instead attributing the higher acceptance rate for early applicants to the stronger applicant pool during the early cycle.
Cannot come up with a distinction between ED and SCEA as it may affect the selectivity of either type of early program.