Students reneging on ED acceptances more than in past?

Captain Barbossa once said:



Lol. I know the NACAC guidelines/best practices have no teeth (and really that’s a big part of the point) yet most people involved do generally follow them because both sides benefit.

There will always be some who break the ‘rules’, but since they are just suggested ‘best practices’, there’s no consequence in place for not following them (and breaking an ED commitment as well as an AO spurning a HS would be counter to these best practices).

I’m not saying that there’s never been a situation where an AO spurned a HS/their applicant(s) because a previous student(s) backed out of ED. But I do think it’s curious that I’ve never heard this mentioned on various industry list servs, or at conferences, or a former AO or GC has never said anything in the media about it. It seems no one on these boards has evidence of this either, beyond urban legends.

I expect most students who back out of ED have a legit reason and it’s in no one’s interest to force them (for what could be a very short time) to go to a school they don’t want to.


A number of students at D20’s private school were admitted to very good schools during the WL round. That’s where those connections between the guidance counselors and the admissions offices paid off. Several of my daughter’s friends received admission to schools like Michigan, Emory, Wes and Hamilton during the WL round. They would have been fine without these additional acceptances but the bump mattered to them and to D’s school.

Had someone at our high school burned one of those colleges in the ED round (yeah, I know Mich doesn’t have ED but bear with me), those colleges wouldn’t have been receptive to our high school’s GCs during the WL round.

And the GCs at our school were clearly well aware of that fact because they made all parents of ED students sign a separate acknowledgement to be submitted to the high school. No signed form, no release of grades. It was a simple rule and it made perfect sense.


A student from my daughter’s public school applied EA to Georgetown and REA to Harvard, got in to GT but was deferred then eventually denied at H. I’m just realizing now that the student was not supposed to apply to GT under Harvard’s REA’s rules! It clearly states so on the website. I’m shocked because this student was valedictorian and well thought of.

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I have (slightly) more sympathy for the student/GC being confused when the college deigns itself too superior to use the Common App plus has a host of rules not shared with 99.99% of other colleges MIT maybe can get away with a proprietary app; Georgetown, not so much.


Charles Deacon, longtime head of admissions at Georgetown, has remained steadfast in his preference for the unique application, and I admire his conviction.

Georgetown would most certainly receive more applications and lower its acceptance rate if it moved to the Common App, but the school prefers to spend its time reviewing students who really want to be there. Playing the public perception game like some schools have to appear more desirable is not the aim, and I appreciate such an ethical and practical approach.

Georgetown does not offer ED, which a number of elite and near elite universities use to bolster yield. Again, Georgetown refuses to follow trends that have been employed by others to appear more competitive amongst their peer institutions.

Neither does Georgetown use its SCEA to offer a higher percentage of admission to early applicants. Its RD admission rate was actually a bit higher last year. Many early applicants are privileged and knowledgeable about admissions, and Georgetown makes it clear it keeps seats open to give all those in the regular round full consideration. The only benefit to applying early is an earlier response and a second read during RD if deferred, and no one is rejected early.

This seems like a compassionate and thoughtful policy. Students can apply to other schools through the Common App as well, but if they want Georgetown, making a separate application is what indicates interest. It’s a pretty fair approach considering Georgetown doesn’t favor those who make campus visits, which can be costly for many.

I admire the principles and transparency involved in such policies, and the school offers an excellent education to those who attend. MIT is indeed an elite university, but I don’t believe that Georgetown doesn’t also merit the effort candidates take in applying because college counselors might have to do their jobs properly.

With the pending anti-trust case on the use of the NPC formulation, future applicants may have a less straightforward way of applying for financial aid in the future. Such a change would require more effort from everyone in the process. Whether students would benefit or not remains the question.


Maybe that’s why Harvard turned her down?

I thought they could apply to another school if there was a program or scholarship that required the earlier app, like many apply to USC to get the NMF awards while still applying ED or REA to other schools.

I, too, don’t blame students and GCs for being confused. Why should an applicant get to apply to USC but not Georgetown? If Harvard wants an ED program, call it an ED program and be done with it. It’s easy to understand that each student gets ONE ED application. It becomes harder when they are ED, REA, EA, exceptions for scholarship programs, common app, special app, the new common app (can’t remember what it is called)…

Personally, I’d get rid of ED.


Because USC has neither EA nor ED; they are still applying RD, albeit with an earlier deadline.


Not sure what this dig at Georgetown is about but GT is one of the best schools in the country and doesn’t play the yield game that many parents find so painful. In any case the student in the post didn’t violate any GT rules as GT early action is completely unrestricted as to other EA or RD applications. It is Harvard’s Byzantine SCEA rules the student was violating and I for one agree those are shameful especially for a school with no worries about yield.


But not for ED applications, which I find byzantine. But we can agree to disagree. And it was a hypothetical scenario anyway.

As others have pointed out, the reason Georgetown has a separate application and other requirements is because it wants to ensure its applicants are more likely to enroll if admitted. That’s playing the yield game by definition. Whether its version of REA is fairer than SCEA is another question.


Does GT still only use the United States Postal Service to notify of admissions decisions? I know this is off topic, but I really couldn’t believe this when D18 applied.

No believe they finally went to email but was def the case when my d applied as well! They are proud of their differences lol. Their admit rate for EA is lower than RD which is also pretty unique.

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I disagree that Georgetown plays games. No Georgetown student who is accepted EA is contracted to enroll. Only 10% of EA were accepted this year, and making so few offers without assurance of enrollment to a fraction of the class is nothing like schools which fill half the year ED.

If anything, this process may discourage deferred students who were initially very interested in Georgetown from accepting even if they are eventually offered a place RD.

Georgetown also does not solicit prospective students to apply the way some schools do to bolster number of applications. Then there are the colleges that encourage EA applicants to switch to ED2.

Finally, Georgetown’s endowment is far less than many of its elite, peer schools. Maybe the system it uses results in consistent student bodies that want to be there without costing the university money that can be better spent elsewhere.


I agree that Georgetown has a fairer process than most other private schools. And I certainly wouldn’t equate it with those "colleges that encourage EA applicants to switch to ED2". However, Georgetown has always required students to make extra effort to apply. These extra requirements are clearly designed to discourage from applying some who may not view Georgetown as their top choice and therefore may be less likely to enroll if admitted. This suggests that Georgetown is willing to sacrifice the number of applications to achieve a higher yield.

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Baseball has 4 at a minimum/yr, but usually it’s more like 6, or even 8(at Middlebury, and most D3’s). Those recruits will usually go ED…occasionally ED2. Covid has played havoc with baseball rosters, but it is quite normal to have 25-35 players on a team.

If Georgetown was concerned about yield, it would employ ED.

For example, UPenn accepted half of its 2025 class through ED. With an overall yield of 75%, that means UPenn garnered 100% yield from ED (discounting the few who back out of the agreement) and 50% yield through RD. By choosing so many students through ED, UPenn also guarantees a lower admission rate as it needs to accept 25% fewer applicants overall (50% fewer during ED). Schools that use only EA cannot count on students accepting offers because they are not contractually or ethically required to do so.

After the introduction of the Common App, U Chicago remained a holdout with its proprietary application like GT. Then years ago it began a marketing strategy to recruit prospective students to apply and adopted the Common App. Both measures increased the number of applications it received. By then employing EA, ED and ED2, U Chicago substantially both increased its yield and lowered its acceptance rate. It is an excellent university certainly deserving of its esteemed reputation, but these numbers can be managed strategically and then are marketed broadly to improve perceived exclusivity and desirability.

Tulane and Tufts are other examples of schools that have been recognized for manipulating yield and admission rates with ED.

Georgetown always used its own app…it just chose not to adopt the Common App when it was introduced. It is not as if it changed its policy to game the system. Finally, its application does not require that much extra work. Most schools have a number of supplemental essays, and now that SAT Subject Tests are no longer available, the unusual three it had recommended are no longer relevant.

Furthermore, GT only allows Test Optional for those who cannot sit the exams. TO by choice has shown to increase application numbers by a good percentage. With uncertainty of Covid and going fully Test Optional, Colgate’s 2025 applications, for example, increased by 104%.

Apologies for going on so long, but I find the manipulations and gaming to be advantageous to the institutions while increasing stress on our teenagers. With admission results becoming harder to predict, students feel compelled to apply (1) ED somewhere to even have a chance and (2) to many more universities overall than ever before.

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