Advice! REA or RD?

<p>Hi everyone! I would really appreciate some help deciding if I should apply early action or regular decision to Stanford. To start off, Stanford is my absolute first choice, far and above any other school. However, my junior year did not go as well as I had hoped (dad's been unemployed for 3 years so his unemployment benefits ran out, older brother in college and little sister also in private high school means lots of tuition bills, parents argue all the time, too much stress from outside of school). I am a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant from the Midwest who attends a well-respected religious college preparatory school.</p>

<p>Academic Record:
I've chosen to take as many honors, advanced, and AP classes as my school allows.
Sophomore Year: Advanced Geometry/Trigonometry (A), Accelerated Chemistry (A), Chinese II (A), Global History II (A+), Theology II (A+), Dance I (A+), English II (A+).
Junior Year: AP Physics (A first semester, B+ second semester, 4 on the AP Exam), Honors English (B+, 5 on AP Lit/Comp exam), Advanced Pre-Calculus and AP Statistics (A first semester, A+ second semester, 4 on the AP Statistics exam), AP US History (A, 4 on the AP Exam), Chinese III (A+), Theology III (A+).</p>

<p>Senior Schedule with projected grades:
First semester: AP Calculus BC (A), AP Biology (A+), American Literature (A+), AP American Politics and Government (A+), Chinese IV (A+), Christian Life Choices (A+).
Second Semester: AP Calculus BC (A), AP Chemistry (A), British Literature (A+), AP Biology (A+), Chinese IV (A+), World Religions (A+).</p>

<p>Cumulative GPA as of now: 4.19 (A+ = 4.5, A = 4.0, so on...)</p>

<p>Testing
ACT Highest Scores: Composite 34, English 35, Math 36, Reading 34, Science 36, Writing 11.
SAT IIs: Math II 720, Literature 730.</p>

<p>Work Experience:
Student Intern: St. Louis Science Center, sophomore year
Work-grant tuition assistance at my school (work custodial for lower tuition), junior and senior year</p>

<p>College Courses:
I have taken 3 classes at Washington University in St. Louis: Introduction to Problem-based Learning in Biology (A), Intro to Macroeconomics (A), Intro to Microeconomics (A). Total of 9 semester hours with GPA 4.0</p>

<p>Extracurriculars:
National Honor Society
Community Service Program: volunteer to tutor kids at local elementary schools and my own school, cook dinner once a week at a women and children shelter.
Other volunteer work: Missouri Botanical Garden volunteer, Literacy Ambassador for Magazine Publishers' Family Literacy Project (collect used magazines and redistribute them to literacy projects)
Chinese Club: junior year representative, senior year president
Sustainability Committee (junior, senior): discuss and implement sustainable methods of life at my school (started our composting program, increased recycling, currently conducting an energy audit)
Varsity Swimming: sophomore and junior year (I was cut freshman year, could not swim senior year for medical reasons)
Junior Year Banner Committee: helped coordinate/design/construct our class banner (a LOT of work)
Freshman Band
Church puppet group (practice every Sunday)
Summer Swim team since 2000</p>

<p>Awards:
Gateway West Leader of Tomorrow 2012 - Medallion Winner (International Leadership Network)</p>

<p>Overall, I feel like I have a decent application as of now. Strong essays I'm happy with, good letters of recommendation, and a good amount of extracurricular involvement. But my GPA will be better at the semester so I would look slightly better at regular decision. In your opinion, should I apply REA or RD for my best chance at Stanford?
Thanks everyone!</p>

<p>REA. It probably wouldn't make a big difference in your acceptance, so it's better to know early. A few B+s are not a problem.</p>

<p>Thanks for your response. I'm not sure there would be much of an advantage in knowing early; I just want to get in one way or another. My counselor at school told me to do regular decision but I disagreed so I was looking for some more opinions. As of now I'm leaning towards REA</p>

<p>I am a '16 admit, and here are some pros and cons that I've noted from my own personal experience.</p>

<p>Pros:
-Knowing earlier. For students who consider Stanford their first choice, it saves time as they don't have to do as many supplemental applications for other schools.
-Students may visit and familiarize themselves with the school earlier with the mindset that it is a viable choice.
-Springtime is very busy for seniors and I was absent a lot traveling and visiting colleges. Visiting your EA choice earlier may free you up to explore other options in the spring.</p>

<p>Cons:
-Potentially being rejected from your dream school earlier (this was just my own personal qualm). Stanford isn't really one to defer much, so you'll likely have a final decision.
-Some who do EA don't give as much attention to other applications. In the case that they are rejected, they may not have put the best effort possible toward these other institutions. I've seen many panicked, reactionary applications done last minute.
-Not applying EA might change your perspective and open you up to other institutions. I know that doing supplements for other schools gave me great insight into the academic philosophy and structure of other schools and I was so much more informed at the end of the process than I was going into it. After thoroughly examining the possible avenues, I was confident that Stanford was the school for me. But who knows? In giving other options their due consideration, you may find otherwise. </p>

<p>Again, I feel that concern over the odds should not factor in to your decision between REA and RD. It is ultimately a personal preference. At the end of the day, your qualifications remain the same no matter the avenue.</p>

<p>And just of note: I was really intent on doing REA, but backed out at the last second and chose RD. I think it ultimately benefited me because it allowed for further introspection (what I discovered in myself from other supplements, I could apply to the Stanford one) and allowed me to really perfect my essays.</p>

<p>We were told when touring Stanford that the chances are the same if you apply early or regular. Stronger applicants tend to apply early, which is why the acceptance rate is higher. So, most likely if you apply early and get rejected, you would have also gotten rejected at regular decision. A few B+s should not have any impact. My son had a few and got in. The poster above brings up several excellent points. I also want to mention that, while at 6 %, the chances are not great for anyone, if you get accepted early, you will be able to enjoy your senior year much more than your friends who will be stressing for another 3-4 months. Knowing in early December is so much nicer than waiting until April. If you are ready and have time to get your application completed early, there's no good reason to wait since it's your first choice. Also, they are better than most with financial aid, if that's a concern, but since it's non binding, you can wait until May 1st to accept. If you don't get accepted, you will be able to mentally prepare for your other choices. You seem like a very strong applicant. Ultimately, do what you think is best for you. Good luck!</p>

<p>Thanks for sharing your experiences everyone! I know my chances aren't great either way, but I'm most terrified of getting rejected early. Especially if someone I know gets in regular decision. Alas, I'll end up wherever I'm meant to end up and my life will go on. I'm feeling like early action still at this point but I've got 47 days to change my mind; we'll see what happens. Thanks again everyone!</p>