ED actually hurts at Brown: a theory

I know I can’t see essays & recs and so it’s hard for me to compare the strengths of two applicants together. But based on reading what can be gleaned from a chance thread, I’ve found that Almost Everyone who doesn’t meet institutional priorities is deferred. Deferred people rarely get in RD. I see a lot of people accepted in RD who appeared to have been the “type” of people who were deferred in the ED round. I think Brown just wants to not admit anyone prematurely because there could always be someone better in RD. They don’t seem to care very much about their yield. And when it comes to RD, the deferred students while they may get another look have already been passed over. So to quote @fireandrain , the “kids with great SATS who are valedictorian of their class and editor of the school paper and captain of the soccer team” have absolutely nothing to gain from ED, and it might even hurt a little.
This is just a theory. Any thoughts.

  1. CC threads are small sample sizes and they don't correctly portray the admissions profile.
  2. I think what happens is that a lot of underqualified people apply ED in general hoping that a higher acceptance rate in the ED round will boost their chances of acceptance. Even though the universities know that they aren't going to get accepted, they defer these students instead of flat out rejecting them. Why? Just in case and maybe this brings down the RD acceptance rate. Then the universities finally reject the deferred students because they are underqualified, especially since RD is more competitive.
  3. Statistically, applying ED to Brown does have an advantage. Brown's ED acceptance rate is 22%, whereas the RD acceptance rate is 8%, making the overall acceptance rate 9%. So your theory that ED hurts at Brown is just flat out wrong. To be fair, some of these ED acceptances are athletic recruits, but that is the case at all schools.

Legacies and athletes are included though

@lightsgoout yes I mentioned that in the end, but that is the case for all schools. A lot of legacies and athletic recruits apply ED to ALL schools, not just Brown. So are you saying that ED doesn’t help at any school? Regardless, recruits and legacies probably wouldn’t make up for a 14% increase in the acceptance rate.

ED pool is stronger than the RD pool because in order to apply ED you need to have a strong GPA without senior fall.

Don’t think its true any more that the ED round kids have stronger GPA and stats. Now, its well known that your chances of admission are better in the ED rounds, so everyone is playing their ED card regardless of scores.

I really can’t figure out whether the ED or RD pool would be stronger. ED is a slightly savvier group, less Hail Mary applications, but maybe some people who think that ED will boost them regardless of not being strong statistically. In RD, lots of hail Mary’s, people using Brown as their one reach or whatever, but at the same time everyone who applied EA to HYPS drops into the pool as well as other Ivy ED deferred applicants. @preppedparent @iwannabe_Brown

@iwannabe_Brown I don’t think that is true. In RD, there will be lots of qualified applicants who didn’t get into their first choice. Also, your senior grades aren’t factored into your GPA, so students applying in RD aren’t relying on them to boost their GPA. Colleges only require to see your senior courses and track your progress. Doing poorly may be a red flag, but it’s not like a good mid year senior GPA will change your GPA since it is still subject to change. When colleges look at all applicants’ GPA, it is based on the end of Junior year.

Source? This defies everything I’ve heard over the last dozen years.

And to be clear, I’m not talking about “mid year” grades. I’m talking about first semester or trimester final grades.

If in fact the ED pool is no longer stronger that would represent a change from a few years ago. It’s possible given the changes in EA/ED/SCEA policies, but for a while it was undeniable that the ED pool was academically stronger.

@iwannabe_Brown how can senior grades be factored into the GPA when students apply to colleges before their senior grades are completed. Most classes are full year courses in high school, which means that the first semester grade isn’t the grade that gets factored into the GPA since it’s not the final grade for the course. If you have an A the first semester but fail the second semester, your GPA will reflect a cumulation of the A and F.

I am pretty sure that the official high school GPA is set after the completion of junior year. The first quarter or semester grades are a supplement to your application, but the transcript for seniors applying to college is set in stone after the end of Junior year. Of course if you are applying as a transfer, your senior grades are factored into your GPA.

@Dontskipthemoose My child applied ED and after applying, she was asked for FIRST QUARTER grades. These grades do not even end up on the transcript, nonetheless, she was asked to send them to Brown. From what we could tell, pretty much everybody got the same request. The request clearly wasn’t targeted to her - her unweighted GPA was a 4.0 at the time of ED application and her first quarter grades were also all A grades. So no new information, really. Almost boring.

@profdad2021 exactly. Colleges will ask for first quarter grades in ED and first semester grades in RD as supplements to your transcript, but they do not change your GPA. They do this to check senior courses and to make sure that applicants aren’t slacking off. A bad 1st quarter grades won’t lower the GPA, but it’ll surely raise red flags to admissions.

@iwannabe_Brown when I applied in HS, I sent my first quarter grades, but it didn’t change my GPA. What @profdad2021 wrote basically confirms this as well.

When you apply RD the decision is not made until late March. First trimester or semester grades are out before then.

What your school does with your GPA is irrelevant. It’s what Brown does.



@iwannabe_Brown I never denied that Brown or any other school won’t request first quarter or semester grades/mid year report. In fact, I said that they will, but as supplements. This still doesn’t change the official GPA or have a massive impact on your application like the GPA does… They will look at your first quarter or Mid year grades, but nowhere in that link does it say that Brown will compute it into the official GPA.

Decisions for RD comes out in March, but final grades don’t come out until June. The official transcript only consists of final year grades, not first quarter, first semester, or mid year grades. Not sure what you aren’t understanding.

It doesn’t matter what a high school’s official transcript policy is. All that matter is what Brown does and Brown uses senior fall grades for RD students and does not for ED students. Senior fall can absolutely boost your chances and can be one of the reasons (in addition to financial aid) that a student shouldn’t apply ED.

If you can point me to somewhere where Brown says the opposite of what I’ seeing and what I know I’ll change my tune. If not, I’ll stick with what I know from my former high school’s GC (who was nationally known for his insight and charged people outside my school a very hefty fee for access to that knowledge) as well as a couple friends of mine in the admissions consulting business.

@iwannabe_Brown I never said Brown doesn’t look at mid-year grades!!! I just said it doesn’t factor into the GPA. There is however a difference in looking at mid year reports and recomputing the GPA to reflect senior grades. All I said was that senior grades don’t change the official GPA. When admissions compares/ranks students based on GPA, it will be based off of the official transcript from the end of junior year. They will look at senior mid year report as a supplement, but since they aren’t final grades, I can’t imagine that they carry a lot of weight like the official GPA. Also ED students also send first quarter grades as per @profdad2021’s insight. Do you think one more quarter of unofficial grades which are prone to changing will seriously make one round harder than the other?? RD has way more applicants, many of whom were rejected or deferred from their ED school but still have Ivy level stats. You don’t think this makes RD harder? Not to mention the lower acceptance rate?

If you can point me to somewhere where Brown says the opposite of what I’m seeing and what I know, I’ll change my tune. Just because your high school counselor charged people for admissions advice doesn’t mean anything…

I am finished with this argument. I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think you are understanding the difference and I am pretty certain that I am right.

Every school computes GPA itself. The senior grades they receive are factored into that calculation. This is why kids who are improving may wait until the RD round to apply. Senior grades (always interim) are not used independent of the rest of the transcript. But schools also use GPA as one data point - it’s not like every student is assigned a single score, with the top scoring kids getting accepted.

I don’t think it makes one round harder or easier. It does suggest, though, that a student who got off to a slow start and is improving might do better waiting for the RD round.

No. Brown recalculates GPAs (as does nearly every other school like @gardenstategal says) they do not simply plug in what’s listed at the bottom of the transcript and call it a day. If a high school, in an attempt to boost its students GPAs, made PE worth 10000000 credits and gave everyone an A in PE you think Brown is going to just use that reported GPA as the students GPA for its own evaluation?

I believe most schools actually do operate on a semester or trimester schedule so the grades that come out at the end of the calendar year in time for RD are usually more “final” than the ones that come out in October when a final exam or large assignment is often still pending so yes, I do think that extra month or two matters more. RD has more applicants, more people requiring financial aid (Brown is need blind but wealthier applicants generally have higher SAT scores, better school pedigree, better ECs, etc) fewer athletes, legacies, and generally weaker students as well. Weaker doesn’t mean sub-par for Brown, it just means weaker relative to the ED pool. All of these combine to make the inflated ED acceptance rate just that, inflated. I do think there’s a slight advantage with yield protection in declaring ED your first choice but I don’t think that’s enough to offset a weaker GPA if you need a continued upward trend.

With regard to my GC I mentioned the money thing because I don’t want to name him as it names my school. A lot of ink has been spilled in national press covering the success he had as the GC at my high school during his tenure - although, in fairness, there were many faculty members who felt that anyone in his position with a student body like ours would have been just as successful. As my physics teacher would say “How hard is it to manage the Yankees to a world series win?” Ironically, this was said in the middle of a nearly 10 year world series drought for the NYY. On the other hand, the numbers did go down after he retired. Hard to parse out how much of that was him vs. the explosion in students in applications/student (Brown’s applications more than doubled in the 5 years after I applied)

@iwannabe_Brown I am aware that colleges recompute the GPAs themselves since different schools have different weight systems. But you still haven’t provided any sources that senior grades are added to the GPA. Even if schools operate on a semester system, classes like AP classes are full year courses. An A in December isn’t a concrete grade. During transfer admissions, the mid semester grades are recomputed to the GPA because they aren’t finalized grades and are prone to change. Senior year courses are also not finalized.

I am finished with this discussion. You haven’t found any credible sources to back up your claim, and I haven’t either. You believe what you want to.

Not all top schools recalculate. They look at the transcript. Yes, senior grades matter. (Especially as they usually represent the culmination of rigor.)

Why the fuss about gpa? It’s not gpa alone but the actual classes and grades that show. There’s no hiding behind easier courses to pad gpa. No getting around, say, that you did not excel in the courses related to your possible major. Or took some fluff APs rather than the cores.

The GC reports gpa on the School Report, per their hs policy. But adcoms learn much more from the transcript.

OP, deferred is a fresh read, yes, in the context of the RD pool. Ime, apps are not obviously coded to show who’s deferred.

Yes, deferred kids can be accepted in RD.