Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Yield Rate


Replies to: Yield Rate

  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,018 Senior Member
    Well, you are taking for granted, with no real evidence, that EA (or ED for that matter) DOES in fact offer an advantage, besides the obvious one of getting a decision in December rather than March. If you accept the proposition that the EA pool is academically stronger on average than the RD pool (which is what people say all the time), and you take the recruited athletes out of the numerator and denominator, it's not obvious at all that the slightly higher admission rate doesn't reflect a slightly higher proportion of admissible candidates in the pool.

    Now, in the specific cases of Chicago and MIT (and maybe Georgetown), I have my doubts that the EA pool really is stronger than the RD pool. I think those colleges get a fairly high number of RD applications from deferred SCEA applicants at HYPS -- applicants who are very strong on paper and reasonably believed they had a legitimate shot at an early acceptance at one of those colleges. That group should be at least as strong as the EA pool, if not a good bit stronger on average. It would be hard to believe that Chicago does not get several thousand of those applications RD. (And further, I suspect that group of applications turns into a large share of the RD acceptances as well.)

    The thing is, hardly any applicant has an average chance of admission. If we had perfect knowledge, we would probably be able to sort the applicants into three rough groups: One group with a 90-100% chance (including athletic recruits), one group with a 40-60% chance, and the third with really no chance at all, maybe a lottery ticket's worth. The first group is small, and it doesn't matter when they apply, except that most of the athletes have to apply EA. We have no real idea about how the EA and RD pools divide between the other groups, nor if the middle group (the only one that really matters) is in fact advantaged by applying early, and by how much.

    Nevertheless, I agree that part of what matters here is student perception. Students think early applications give them an advantage. And the colleges, while consistently mouthing denials of that proposition, do a lot of winking and eyebrow-arching to encourage that line of thinking.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    JHS, what is your opinion of the process at Questbridge? Do you find it scummy?
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,018 Senior Member
    No, I think Questbridge is a good idea. Obviously the kids have to be willing to take a match, but the terms are favorable enough to make that a fair deal, and they don't have to go through the match process (many don't), and still get all the other benefits of Questbridge.
  • newmassdadnewmassdad Registered User Posts: 3,848 Senior Member

    Surely you've read The Early Admissions Game: Joining the Elite? You still think ED does not offer an advantage, or you think things have changed since its publication in December 2004?

    I don't see how anyone could argue with that book's conclusions, given its methodology and its access to a unique dataset.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    JHS, the students who do not rank schools in the College Match process, are simply applying RD. The ED/EA commitment is actually stronger than the simple ED process.

    NMD, there have been many changes from the days Christopher Avery started working on the ED admissions' "racket," and compiled the AFZ data. Some of the changes are related to the program described above (Questbridge) and the full need and no-loans programs at a number of schools. This has brought many students with low or zero EFC to consider the ED round to be their best bet. You might be interested in the more recent work of Avery (some in tandem with Hoxby) about strivers, and the importance of early INFORMATION for disadvantaged students. Other changes that "might" have occurred since AFZ is that the early admissions' pool have become more competitive than in the early days. But it all depends if you want to accept the talking points of the schools or follow Avery's original conclusions.

    Things have changed, and a lot has changed since the Class of 2008! Just think how much more information is available today in an organized format.
  • newmassdadnewmassdad Registered User Posts: 3,848 Senior Member

    An economist would argue that the availability of new information drives markets to equilibrium (such as the 'January effect" in the stock market many years ago).

    At the same time, much other evidence shows the continued admissions advantage elite colleges offer certain preferred groups, as well as a long history of colleges saying one thing while they do another.

    Put another way, if anyone believes that elite college admissions is meritocratic, I say show me the evidence, because there is much evidence pointing the other way.

    Therefore, absent solid data (and decent analysis) I for one would not discount the observed advantage of early admissions.

    Hoxby has done interesting work for years. Take a look at some of her work while she was at Harvard, for example. However, I don't think it fair to overly generalize from results relevant only to small numbers of people.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 18,018 Senior Member
    1. The Early Admissions Game: I don't question an early decision advantage in many contexts, but I think at the top of the food chain it's much less clear that there's an advantage. The big issue is that athletic recruits and their numbers get thrown in with "academic" applicants. If you accept 600 students, and 250 of them are athletic recruits, it's not going to surprise anyone if the average SATs and GPAs for that group are going to be lower than for the RD population with 1,500 students accepted of whom 50 are recruited athletes. And that's acknowledging that the recruited athletes are held to a fairly high standard of academic achievement before being qualified to apply. (By "recruited athletes" I mean a slightly broader group of all recruited students, including Questbridge, famous musicians, and development cases.)

    So it's really hard to separate out the supposed advantage of ED for unhooked academic applicants from the overwhelming advantage of recruitment for recruited applicants. Recruits have an admission rate of close to 100%, and if there are a relatively high percentage of them in a small applicant pool -- and most ED pools are pretty small -- they are going to distort the pool-wide numbers.

    2. Questbridge: I believe a Questbridge student applying RD has very meaningful advantages -- both in the actual help they get from Questbridge, but also in the independent qualification function Questbridge performs. A college looking at a Questbridge applicant knows that this kid has already been vetted more thoroughly than the college could, and both his story and his academic abilities are for real. That's a huge boost.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    JHS, a bit of inside info, not all early College Matched QB applicants are reported in the ED and EA pools. Stanford, as an example, consider them special RD applicants.
This discussion has been closed.