According to the statistics, it looks like Yale’s SCEA has a higher acceptance rate so it feels like applying early would give me a higher chance, but considering the applicant pool, EA pool is much more competitive. So which one is better? I’m an international by the way.
Unless you have a hook, I believe it is not worth it. My younger son did SCEA at Harvard. He had the necessary stats, grades, ECs plus an older brother there, but no hook. He had a 1 in 5 shot to get in SCEA, but no dice. He was deferred and then rejected RD.
Thankfully Yale was a lot smarter than Harvard and took him during Regular Decision.
Thank you for your response. Can you give an example of a hook? I keep hearing it from people but I don’t exactly know what qualifies a hook.It would help very much. Thank you
The high admissions rate during SCEA is primarily driven by a better applicant pool, athletic recruits who almost always have to apply SCEA to get coach support and others with hooks, such as legacy and URM. Also, IMO, applicants who apply SCEA have Yale as their first choice and probably have done a better job with the various why Yale type of question (both in the nature of how Yale is going to benefit me and how I am going to benefit Yale). It is also suggested that if you have a very specialized skill (e.g. virtuoso french horn player), it is better to apply early to claim that “spot”. The Harvard litigation does suggest that applying early there is an advantage after controlling for a variety of factors…
Hooks are advantages that you have that you did not earn based on your efforts (with the exception of athletic recruit). The usual list are: athletic recruit, URM, legacy, child of major donor/political figure , faculty child, first gen, low SES.
I have a special talent in arts (music and film), do you think it would count as a hook?
That is not a “hook”, that is an achievement. IMO, the primary advantage of SCEA is that it potentially narrows and helps shape your overall app process. If you get in, you do not need to apply to schools you rank below Yale unless you are chasing merit money. If you are rejected, you might want to readjust your range of what are safety, match and reaches. Also, if you might want to take another look at your essays if your GPA and tests scores were at or above the median for Yale. If you are deferred, your range may be correct, but you will probably want to include more matches in the RD round.
At my son’s very atypical elite public HS, the admit success rates for Yale were about 20% early and just under 15% regular with a total of 6-12 admits and 5-9 enrolling each year. For comparison, Harvard was very different, with an EA admit rate of close to 50% vs a Regular admit rate of under 10% with the same 6-12 admits and 5-9 attending each year.
For kids applying to both - like my son did - the smart by-the-numbers play was apply early Harvard, regular Yale.
I have no idea whether this has any relevance to experiences of other applicants from other HSs, but I would recommend taking a close look at the Naviance data available at your school and carefully strategizing where you are likely to get the biggest boost from an early application. This is even more important if you are thinking of applying early to any schools which - unlike Yale, Harvard, etc. - have binding early applications.
FYI, son was accepted Harvard early, Yale regular. We found having the financial package from Harvard very helpful when requesting an improved award from Yale.
I will research my school’s data, but as far as I know Yale accepts 1-3 people from my school every year. I think the majority was accepted regular, people applying early (including a valedictorian who got into Harvard in regular) were mainly rejected or deferred. I will search for the specific data though. Yale is my dream school. Overall I have average stats for Yale I guess. My passions and extracurriculars are unique though. Very unique actually compared to previous applicants from my school. My counselor says it’s my strength. So that’s why I was considering applying early, since it’s my top choice. But now considering the hooks and all (apparently I don’t have a hook), I’m not really sure about it. What would you suggest? I’m an international by the way and I need financial aid but thankfully Yale is need-blind.
If you have a unique talent, it might be worth applying early to grab that spot. Applying early only hurts if your app is not otherwise optimized or if there is a close second school that you can apply ED that gives a bigger admissions boost for applying early.
It’s so interesting to read this. When I look at the scattergrams at my daughter’s school, zero accepted to Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, Stanford and MIT! There was one to Cornell and a few to Brown but not for several years. I’m just pretending that I didn’t see the scattergram. That’s really cool that you can gauge the chances a bit better coming from your son’s hs; it sounds like an extraordinary place.
Do you think it’s a hook if Yale didn’t have students from my country in the last two classes? Or medals from international science olympiads (I have chemistry and geography bronze medals)?
From what I understand, hooks are specifically categories that you cannot control such as URM, legacy, first generation, athlete etc. I would think they would look carefully at a student from a country without recent representation, however. But honestly, there is nothing anyone can do other than to keep working on other applications (I say this only because of the statistics and say the same to my daughter.) The waiting is so difficult and none of you deserves the added stress of this in the middle of a pandemic; my heart really goes out to all of you.
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