Help me plan out my Early Round [Chicago and Columbia]

If you saw me on reddit, ignore this, just trying to get several opinions
Background - Ultra competitive public school. Not going super specific cuz dox and it’s less relevant to the question because they are both competitive schools, but I have a solid app (36, top gpa, good ecs etc) and have atleast a shot at either.

My situation is that UChicago and Columbia are both my dream schools but I do slightly prefer Columbia for reasons I’m not gonna get into right now. However, I have triple legacy (2 faculty parents, one sibling attending) at UChicago and don’t wanna waste that opportunity.

My options are:

  1. ED UChicago
  2. ED Columbia EA UChicago (and turn a deferred into ED2)
  3. ED Columbia ED2 Uchicago

If you think I should pick option 2 or 3, what’s the difference between doing EA first then ED2 if need be vs just doing ED2? Would UChicago be suspicious of my EA application and think that I’m not willing to commit there? Likewise, would being an ED2 candidate that was deferred EA put me at a disadvantage compared to just applying ED2? Thanks and I appreciate any help

Try not to overthink it too much. You wont be at a disadvantage in ED2 if you apply first through EA. Any other EA schools you are considering?


Yea, I’m looking at UW Madison and UMich although Umich releases decisions late. My school does very well for both with acceptance rates of around 80 and 60 at each, so I should be good.

All I know is that UChicago has mastered the game theory behind understanding their applicant pool and maximizing their yield. They don’t publicize their acceptance rates from each of their options.
Yield from ED1 may be more in your favor than ED2. I don’t have data for this, but this has been discussed in various college forums.

#2. It’s your preference. And you cover yourself with ED2.


If you have some kind of hook or outstanding EC spike that’s set you apart from the other 20,000+ ‘Standard Strong’ applicants that will be in the Columbia pool, take your shot at Columbia ED. If not, I wouldn’t waste your time. You have a major advantage and ties to Chicago. Wouldn’t you also go tuition-free? Use your ED currency wisely.

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Yea that makes a lot of sense especially considering the fact that pretty much no one has gotten into Chicago rd at my school in the past couple years besides legacies despite our overall good record

Just clarifying, you’re with @Novacat9191 in that its better to just apply EA if I do choose that route. Like taking the small chance of getting in EA has no repercussions should I get deferred and turn it into ED2.

Don’t be dismayed at that figure – almost nobody has gotten into UChicago RD, period, unhooked. (like 1-2%… their RD acceptance rate is ridiculous)

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You have a strong hook at UChicago so EA should work out fine for you.
So I agree go with choice #2 and take your ED shot at Columbia.

If UChicago defers you and you don’t get into Columbia then ED2 should be a lock for you.

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ED is ED - you’re a guaranteed butt in chair - so it’s great for yield management.

You stated you liked Columbia more than Chicago although love both. So - I’d go for Columbia.

The odds are you get turned down at both - but someone is getting in, why not you?

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I respectfully disagree. OP states s/he has a strong app (stats and ECs) and has an ALDC hook (the “C”) at UChicago - therefore has a much higher than average chance of acceptance, particularly in the early rounds.

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That’s fine- we can agree to disagree - but would you think his odds are 50.1% or better?

Based on OP’s claim of having “a solid app” and being a child of faculty and applying ED - yes, I’d say greater than 50% chance of acceptance at UChicago.


Did your sibling apply ED to Chicago? How does Chicago treat hooked applicants who don’t apply ED?

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Also, how does your school do with EA at Chicago? I know some top schools get none in on EA. As an earlier poster said, Chicago seems to have mastered yield management.

I’m not close with that many seniors that have applied to chicago EA so i’m not really sure. I think most people at my school just go all in ED and EA isn’t really considered. My sibling applied and got into Chicago RD. I know it’s super arbitrary to try to judge, but we generally agree that I have a slightly stronger app (slightly higher act, higher gpa, slightly better ecs, rest similar), but I’m worried that they may have had an X factor or hook that I may be missing out on.

I guess it depends on how sure you are on picking Columbia over Chicago. The benefit of option 3 is you can focus on the Columbia Essay / Application first then that will give you a few more weeks to finish up the Chicago one for ED2.

The risk with 2 is if UC would reject someone EA that they might accept ED2 because of yield management/importance of demonstrated interest. So I think the safest course is 3.

In any situation, I hope you have EA/rolling tee’d up at a few matches/safeties and RD ready for matches and safeties as well.

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As a strongly hooked applicant I think UChicago is unlikely to reject OP in EA. At most, they will defer and nudge OP to apply ED2.