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10 Colleges Where Early Applicants Have an Edge

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,371 Senior Member
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Replies to: 10 Colleges Where Early Applicants Have an Edge

  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    Colleges always claim they use the same standard for ED and RD applicants, and their ED applicants form a stronger pool. This may be true to some extent but most likely won't explain completely the disparity in ED and RD acceptance rates. Colleges should be asked to release statistics on their applicant pool in each round. Currently they only release statistics on those enrolled. This also makes comparison of acceptance rates between colleges (and all the college rankings that are based on them) unreliable, to say the least.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 2,299 Senior Member
    You can compare reg admit rates with early admit rates simply by googling around for the common data sets.

    Or use the website collegedata.
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    Statistics on applicant pools are not made available by any college, AFAIK. They're certainly not in the Common Data Sets.
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    Without these statistics, comparison of the published admit rates are much less meaningful.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 64,284 Senior Member
    If the college considers "level of applicant's interest", then applying ED is obviously an advantage, because there is no better way to show a high "level of applicant's interest" than applying ED.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 15,069 Senior Member
    I'd also assume the applicants are doing their best job on an ED. No reusing essays, focused on the 'Why Dream school' essay. Also, the applicant may be a best fit for the ED school - the perfect music program, the best philosophy department. We have to give students a little credit for knowing the best school for them too.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 1,804 Senior Member
    One school, Southern Methodist Univ seems to accept more students RD than ED. I don't think I have seen that before. Thoughts?
  • frozencustardfrozencustard Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
    Of course there should be a bias toward ED candidates. They are less likely to transfer out into their top choice school a year later. The demonstrated interest means they want to be there and not "settling" on that school. This leads to a better campus vibe (for lack of a better term). EA shouldn't give the same bump, but some bump.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,850 Senior Member
    "Colleges always claim they use the same standard for ED and RD applicants."

    I think most schools are actually pretty clear about how they do things. ED is not such a big deal at some schools after adjusting ED admit rates for pool strength, athletes, legacies. Example -- Brown.

    At other schools, it is a big deal and those schools say so. Example -- Duke. From the Duke website:


    Early Decision Myths and Facts

    Myth: The Early Decision process is more competitive than Regular Decision.
    Fact: While some schools make this claim, at Duke we appreciate that we are your unquestioned first choice. There’s an advantage in applying early to Duke—last year we admitted 23.5% of our Early Decision candidates and only 8.7% of our Regular Decision candidates. There are students for whom applying Early Decision can make all the difference.

    Myth: I’m better off waiting until I get my first semester grades so that my application looks stronger.
    Fact: Some students do benefit from waiting for that first set of grades, but for most applicants there’s more of an advantage in letting us know Duke is your top choice by applying Early Decision. Even if your application is deferred to our Regular Decision pool, the fact that you applied Early Decision remains part of your application.

    Myth: The reason schools have higher acceptance rates for Early Decision is because athletes and children of alumni apply then.
    Fact: Some schools do encourage athletes and alumni children to apply during Early Decision, but our philosophy is to encourage all students who have Duke as a clear first choice to apply Early Decision and gain that benefit.
  • lifebreathlifebreath Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    edited December 2017
    Many selective colleges' ED/EA rates are significantly higher than their RD rates. This is largely designed to protect their enrollment yield % for the all-important US News rankings. Fill up half the class early from a small fraction of applicants, then turn away the majority in RD. Et Viola! Ratings go up. Now we see the ED II option popping up to capture those who got rejected by their first-choice ED or EA schools, for the same reasons.

    Also, the applicant pool is generally more homogeneously well-qualified because of a self-selection bias. I.e., the applicants apply because they know they are qualified. The "myth" of the "more competitive pool" perpetrated by the schools themselves reinforces this self-selection to the benefit of the school (as well as the applicants).
  • hbrunnerhbrunner Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
  • rickle1rickle1 Registered User Posts: 378 Member
    Although it's a tremendous resource for the overall application process, the Common App has created much of this stir. Many students apply to an ever increasing number of colleges in RD just because they can. Yes there's a cost, but the cycle goes "colleges are more competitive than ever. I just don't know if I'll get in to college X or Y so I better apply to a few more. Geez, college X, Y, A, and B all report they had their most competitive admissions cycle receiving the most applications ever!" Surprise surprise. The system feeds itself. Many kids are applying to schools they have no real intention of attending, just to see if they get accepted, in case they don't elsewhere. So, is the number of competitive applicants increasing? Sure. But the number of non-competitive applicants is skyrocketing (no hard numbers. Schools won't release the data on non admitted students.) Think of it this way. Prior to Common App, college X may have had 5000 applications to admit 2000 (40% rate) to enroll 1000 (50% yield). Today, that same college is getting 10,000 applications and admitting 3000 (30%) to get 1000 attendees (33% yield). They look more competitive (and less attractive as yield declines). The reality is the majority of the additional 5000 applications should never have been sent in because they weren't truly competitive for that school. There's no way to know this but that appears to be the reality. Maybe the top level of student has raised the bar, and if so, so be it. But the HYPSM's and other elites will always take what they feel to be the highest caliber students. A lot of kids simply apply "just in case", but aren't truly competitive.
  • bethdc7bethdc7 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I agree with everything you said its pretty simple schools like applicants that are ready to make that ED commitment and make it legal because then they can ensure they have applicants who want to be there first more than any other college. I though most schools admit the greatest percentage of students ED and EA rather than RD.
  • jjduganjjdugan Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I think that a more important statistic would be how much of their class they fill with the ED and RD acceptances. It doesn't matter what percent of the EA applicants are accepted if that only fills up 5% of the overall population of the school.
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