Where Applying Early Helps the Most?

<p>I'm reading our library 2009 copy of US News Ultimate College Guide, and was stunned to see that (in Fall 2006) Notre Dame accepted 62% ED/EA applicants vs 21% RD, Brandeis 63% vs 35%, and Hopkins 51% vs 25%. Grinnell was 82% vs 43% in 2006. Kalamazoo 91% vs 27%. This college guide lays out this information in a straight-forward chart. (I noted that some schools don't favor ED/EA applicants.) Is the secret to admission ED/EA for certain schools?</p>

<p>I've posted excerpts</a> from many admissions websites before where colleges (Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, Penn, Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Hopkins, etc.) were very blunt about ED conferring an advantage that ranged from slight to significant. (Princeton and Yale no longer have ED.)</p>

<p>ED/EA numbers have gone up in recent years as students have developed the mentality that they have to apply somewhere - anywhere - early. This helps eliminates the advantage, of course, since everyone else starts to apply early as well. The SCEA admit rates at HYS have dropped by about half since I applied only a few years ago. </p>

<p>That said, I think a good applicant lacking the need to compare financial aid packages and with a clear first choice might be very well served by ED. One poster did the math for a particularly ED-heavy school: