To Apply Early or Not Apply Early?
How much does applying early help you? It depends. Is the early admissions rate actually advantageous for regular students who are not being recruited by the college? is the crucial query.
The debunking arguments given below will clarify why early application to most Ivy League and top 15 ranked colleges does not significantly improve your application as most people think it will. Examining official university data reveals that erroneous interpretations of certain data points are the real cause of the large, double-digit differences that people believe exist between the early and regular acceptance rates. Lets start by demystifying Early Decision statistics.
How Big Is the Real Early Decision (ED) Boost?
You agree to submit your early applications to just one college, and if accepted, you must enroll. Colleges in the Ivy League and NCAA Division III (sports division) are not permitted to provide athletic scholarships, so all of their student athletes are recruited through the Early Decision process. Since a sizable portion of early applicants who are accepted are recruited athletes, the difference you observe between the Early vs If you are not one of these athletes, Regular Decision admit rates do not accurately reflect your chances of being admitted Early Decision. Let’s find out how much the Early Decision acceptance rate is skewed by the presence of recruited athletes:
Class of 2021 Case Study:
Note: Many highly selective colleges can use the idea in this example.
At Brown, an Ivy League university, a whopping 40.4% of the incoming class was admitted in Early Decision for the class of 2021. The acceptance rate cited for the Early Decision applicants was 21.9%, tremendously better than the 6.9% Regular Decision acceptance rate. Statistics like these are cited profusely in the media, and when most people see this difference in the admit rates, they feel it’s a no brainer that applying early triples ones odds of acceptance. However, Brown admissions officers caution that applying early won’t affect your chances:
Let’s examine the reasoning behind Brown’s apparent disregard for the fact that the early decision admit rate is three times higher than the regular decision admit rate.
- Recruited athletes comprise approximately 20% to 30% of early admits, inflating early acceptance rates Additionally, the early pool’s average GPA and standardized test scores are lower due to their lower academic qualifications. Regular students with lower academic standing may mistakenly believe that the early pool will treat them more favorably due to both of these factors.
Brown’s athletic website states that a significant number of spots, “over 200”, in each year’s class are reserved for “recruited varsity athletes.” For the class of 2021, these 200 recruited athletes accounted for 28.7% of Brown’s Early Decision acceptance offers. If you play sports but a scout from the athletic department hasnt initiated and maintained regular contact with you, then youre not being recruited. Youd be a normal applicant. This brings us to myth #1:
Myth: “Applying Early Decision will give you a better chance if you are a normal applicant with a lower GPA or test score.” “.
Truth: Since athletes make up about a third of early admits, their lower academic profiles artificially lower early admits’ average GPAs and test scores, giving the impression that they have poor academic standing. Nevertheless, according to Brown’s Office of Admissions, the non-recruited students they admit early have GPAs or test scores that are on par with or better than those of the applicants who were admitted using the Regular Decision pool. Brown seeks to ensure its early admits are truly amazing. “We admit Early Decision applicants only when we are confident that we would offer them admission as a Regular Decision applicant,” another Brown admissions officer was quoted as saying. ”.
Lesson: If a college isn’t actively recruiting you and you have lower grades, applying Regular Decision actually increases your chances of admission by giving you more time to improve your GPA and/or standardized test scores.
Don’t Be Mislead
Official Boston University charts, such as the one below, mislead high school guidance counselors, who then mislead you about your chances of admission if you apply early. The chart is false because a Boston University admissions director confirmed during a College Zoom visit in late 2017 that the school’s annual information report for counselors does not eliminate the lower grades and test scores of athletic recruits.
Misleading Overall GPA:
Technically, an A- GPA is anything between 3. 4 to 3. 7. However, non-recruited students with a 3. Absent exceptional circumstances, applicants with 4 GPA will almost certainly be rejected by BU. Meanwhile, a 3. 7 GPA would be deemed acceptably competitive. Here, however, the drastic difference between a 3. 4 and 3. 7 GPA are masked by the title “A-“.
Class Rank: Because class rank is based on the GPA alone, the slide from top 7% (regular admit class rank) to top 15% (early admit class rank) proves that the exact A- GPA of both pools is not the same
SAT Score: Athletes tend to score at least 200 points lower on the SAT than non-athletes (New York Times). Yet, they comprise about 30% of the early admits. See how athletes skew the middle 50% range?
Lesson: Don’t be fooled if your school counselor claims that applying earlier will improve your chances and provides you with a chart to support it. If your academic record does not meet the standards set by students who are regularly accepted, you will not benefit from applying early as a non-recruited student. Regular application is better for your chances; use this time to improve your grades and test scores.
Why the (Higher) Early Decision Acceptance Rate Is Misleading
Now, back to Brown. Let’s dispel some myths about Brown’s officially reported acceptance rate for Early Decision, which was 21. 9%. When compared to the 6. 9% Regular Decision acceptance rate, it indicated that 649 more students (i e. 15% more people) were admitted simply because they applied early rather than regular The Early Decision acceptance rate, however, decreases from 21 percent if the Browns 200 recruited athletes are removed. 9% to 15. 6%. This lower acceptance rate is a more accurate reflection of the challenges you’ll face in the early pool. However, colleges do not only seek out and reserve spots for athletes when they recruit students for the early admission class.
Based on statistics from comparable Ivy League colleges, about 8. 7% of the early decision offers may be reserved for low-income students recruited through special scholarship programs like QuestBridge or the Sidney E Frank scholarship fund. Another 1% of the early class may be reserved for musical recruits (i e. orchestra and band) and 1. 8% of early applicants may have withdrawn or failed to complete the submission of required documents Due to the additional students, the early acceptance rate for unrecruited students now rests at just 14 percent. 3%.
For the class of 2021, Brown’s published Early Decision acceptance rate was 21. 9%, but for non-recruits it was actually closer to 14. 3%.
Only About 30 Non-Recruits Got the ED Boost
Though the adjusted Early Decision admit rate of 14.3% still seems more favorable than the 6.9% Regular Decision admit rate, they are separated by only 7.3%. Because the number of non-recruited admits who actually get accepted in Early Decision is so small (414 students), that 7.3% difference equates to just 30 non-recruited students who got the “early decision” boost and got in. For context, a data table that used to be on Browns Admissions Facts webpage (but was recently removed as of September 2018) showed that Browns 10 most recent admissions classes have a mean size of 2,785 admits and a standard deviation of 108 admits from year to year. In simple language, that means the overall number of students admitted into each class naturally fluctuates, at times, to a much greater degree than 30 students, giving the Early Decision boost no significance. Now, Browns official stance that applying early doesnt increase your odds of success begins to make sense.
However, if the actual acceptance rate for Early Decision was only 21 9% for non-recruits, then the advantage of applying early as a non-recruit would be phenomenally statistically significant to a magnitude of 6 times the standard deviation of a normal entering class That would indeed be an astonishing advantage for non-recruits. But, now you know thats a fake statistic.
Other Ivy League Colleges Agree:
Dartmouth, another Ivy League college whose official Early Decision acceptance rate seems to be even more advantageous than Browns Early Decision acceptance rate, reinforces the same message as Brown. Dartmouths official Admissions FAQ shares:
But, what about Browns claim that 40. 4% of the class was filled in early decision?.
- For the class of 2021, Brown secured 40. 4% of its class in binding early decision, admitting one student per open spot Brown, however, fills the majority of its class in the non-binding regular decision and must admit two students to fill each open spot. Removing recruited-admits, only around 17% of acceptance letters to normal applicants went out in early decision%E2%80%9483% were handed out in regular decision
Misinterpreting the “Percentage of the Class Filled in Early Admission”
By definition, Brown’s class only includes those who were accepted and enrolled; it disregards those who were admitted but decided to enroll somewhere else.
Put into perspective, the 40.4% figure equals all 695 early admits (including recruits) divided by the 1,719 total number of admitted students who enrolled. It ignores the larger total of 2,722 students who got acceptance letters and could have chosen to enroll. If 100% of those 2,722 students chose to matriculate to Brown, then only 25.5% of the class wouldve actually been filled by Early Decision admits—not 40.4%. But, even that percentage still includes recruited admits.
2,442 acceptance letters sent to regular, non-recruited admits remain after removing the recruited admits. The most significant number is that one because it indicates the total number of acceptance letters available to regular applicants like you. Dissecting it reveals that only 416 (or just 17%) of the acceptance letters meant for non-recruits were given out in Early Decision, the other 83% of acceptances to non-recruits were given in the Regular Decision pool
Therefore, you should disregard the “40 percent” if you’re worried about your chances of receiving an acceptance letter. 4% of the incoming class was filled early%22 statistic as its not an accurate measure of the odds of getting an acceptance letter in your hands In actuality, it is the most pointless and deceptive statistic that universities and the media use.
Most Early Applicants Got Deferred
Browns official statistic was %2260% of Early Decision applicants were deferred%22 to Regular Decision, but that still misleads us by including recruited athletes in the denominator Because those students have no chance of being rejected or deferred, they shouldn’t be counted. A more accurate, adjusted statistic is the following. Within the Early Decision pool of non-recruited applicants:
- 65.85% got deferred
- 19.76% were rejected
- Only 14.39% were admitted
Having a Low GPA and Test Score Increases Your Chances of Deferment
Low academic and standardized test scores applicants frequently have the greatest hope that applying early will increase their chances, but they are most likely to be deferred. Universities will defer a student even if they believe they are a great fit until after the fall semester and December SAT/ACT test window opportunities have passed. Now is a risky time to get deferred because you can’t change your submitted application after getting deferred. As a result, while your application is in the deferred pile, tens of thousands of your rivals are given an extra two months to improve their GPAs, test scores, co-curricular accomplishments, and/or personal statements, which will further disadvantage you in the Regular Decision results.
There Are Only a Few Colleges Where Applying ED Will Boost Your Chances
You may have a real advantage by applying early to some moderately selective colleges. However, most of these colleges also admit well over 50% of applicants in the Regular Decision round They aren’t Ivy League schools, and most students don’t need financial aid to attend them. The exception, though, are a few very competitive colleges.
Duke, Tulane University, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Northeastern University, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor but only for UMichigans Ross School of Business — are rare because they are both very selective (i.e. they have Regular Decision acceptance rates under 30%) and their early applicants do get a helpful boost by applying early. However, a recent article by The Atlantic has made the argument that Tulane has artificially lowered its acceptance rate (i.e. ballooned its applicant pool with applications from non-competitive students) by sending out free, pre-filled out, college applications to Louisiana students (its home state) and across the country. This would effectively mean that the early boost, and Tulanes actual selectivity, is not what it seems.
We frequently receive inquiries regarding Northwestern University, which is a very well-known institution. We estimated Northwestern’s 2016 Early Decision acceptance rate for students who were not recruited to be around 10%. 1%. Meanwhile, it%E2%80%99s acceptance rate for Regular Decision students was only 10% While Northwestern says 50% of its enrolled class was filled in Early Decision, we were able to calculate that Early Decision acceptance offers accounted for only 9 5% of the total acceptances they handed out to non-recruited admits In other words, 90. 5% of the acceptance letters for non-recruited admits were given out to Regular Decision applicants
Southern Methodist University (SMU)
SMU is another very popular university on the rise that we get many questions about. Using the universitys official Common Data Set data, we calculated that SMUs 2018 Early Decision acceptance rate for non-recruited students was approximately 43%. Meanwhile, it’s acceptance rate for Regular Decision students was even higher at 51%. This runs contrary to the stories we frequently hear from parents about high school counselors and even SMUs admissions office encouraging ED to boost a students chances.
Early Action (EA):
Unlike Early Decision, Early Action offers are not-binding. So, colleges still need to admit at least two students to fill each open spot, even in the early round. Therefore, applying Early Action wont give you significantly better odds than applying regular—you just find out sooner. MIT offers Early Action and also explicitly states: “There isnt an advantage to applying early.”
Restrictive Early Action (Single-Choice EA)
Restrictive early action, also referred to as single-choice early action, is used by some colleges, including Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. Restrictive Early Action (REA) limits the number of private colleges to which applicants may submit their Early Action applications. However, any subsequent acceptance offer is not binding. However, because of the enormous pull of the extremely selective colleges that use REA programs, the vast majority of admitted students attend anyway, leading many admissions professionals to view REA programs as de facto Early Decision programs.
Harvard correctly says, “Harvard does not offer an advantage to students who apply early” Although Harvards class of 2021 had the biggest early boost of all colleges that offer Restrictive Early Action—e.g. Stanford, Princeton, Yale, etc.—it was nevertheless very statistically insignificant. Princeton agrees: “Those who apply early gain no strategic advantage.”
Rolling Admissions Is Different
A different kind of early admissions procedure is a rolling admissions procedure. Early application will always increase your chances because applications are reviewed and decided as they are received. With rolling admissions, a college accepts applications from applicants over a long period of time and notifies them of their selections within a few weeks of receiving the applications. The earlier you apply, the better, as your chances of being accepted into rolling admissions are higher when there are more openings available. Popular universities with rolling admissions include Penn State University and Indiana University—Bloomington.
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What to do if a you’re Deferred by Your DREAM SCHOOL! College Admissions Tips!
How likely is it to get accepted after being deferred?
According to the university, about 15% of deferred applicants gain admission in the Regular Decision round Deferral statistics can also be impacted by yearly trends and modifications to the admissions procedure.
Is it harder to get accepted after being deferred?
Your chances of acceptance after being deferred may be the same as, lower than, or higher than the applicant pool for Regular Decision. The school you applied to and what you do after being deferred will both affect your chances after deferral. Let’s look at MIT, for example.
What does it mean to get deferred from Umich?
Early Action admission decisions are typically made public by December at the University of Michigan’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions (OUA). 24 each year. Some applicants will have their final admissions decision “deferred,” or put off, until after these decisions are made public. ”.
Does umich defer admission?
Students who were accepted but did not enroll may postpone admission for a maximum of one year. After that, a new admissions application must be submitted.