Friday, December 24, 2010

Early Decision / Early Action Results are In .... Deferment, Acceptance, and Rejection

Commentary by Lauren Kahn, Educational Consultant / CEO of Lone Star Ed Consulting, LLC

By Caralee Adams from Ed Week written on December 19th, 2010

"Early Decision Up, Yet Still Small Part of Admissions Pie"

Lunch rooms, hallways and Facebook are abuzz with news of who got in where as colleges begin to send out early decision and early action notices this month. Perhaps I'm hearing about it more because I have a high school student or is this the new pathway into college?

First, to clarify the terms:

Early decision is when a student applies to his first-choice school and, if accepted, the decision is binding.

Early action is similar to early decision, but the student doesn't have to commit immediately. She can still apply to other colleges and wait to make a decision until spring.

(Lauren Kahn says that if you have any hesitancy about your first choice, go with early action and do not sign up for the early decision option. The elite universities do share information in secretive ways about their accepted students. If a student that has been accepted early decision backs out for non-financial driven reasons, they could be penalized in the regular decision pool with other universities.)

About 18 percent of colleges offer early decision and 24 percent have early action plans, according to the 2010 State of Admissions Report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). These plans are more common at private colleges.

(Harvard, Princeton, and University of Virginia eliminated the early decision option from their application process in 2007, announcing it in the fall of 2006. A commenter from the Huffington Post writes, "Students need several backup schools in order to evaluate their financial aid packages across a wide range of schools. Yes, Harvard, Amherst, and a couple other schools have widely hailed scholarshi­p programs for poor students. It is middle income students - family income between $60,000 - $100,000 that are facing the highest stress and uncertaint­y.”

For students who have their hearts set on a school, it can boost their chance of getting in over the regular admission process. Colleges with early decision policies reported a higher acceptance rate for their early decision applicants as compared to all applicants (70 percent versus 55 percent), and the gap between the acceptance rates has grown in recent years.

Students are catching on. For the third year in a row, about half (47 percent) of colleges reported increases in the number of early decision applications and nearly three-quarters (74 percent) had an increase in early action applications.

(For University of Pennsylvania, applying early decision is actively encouraged amongst Penn Alumni as a strategy to boost their chances for admission) See below these startling statitistics.

Penn’s approximate admit rates over the last five years:

The admit rate for legacy applicants in the early decision pool is between 38 - 42%, while the non-legacy admit rate for students applying early decision is between 28-42%.

Here is what may shock you: The regular admit rate for students that are legacy and non-legacy is between 13-15%. For the full-cycle the admit rate is 32% - 34% for students that are legacy and 16% - 18% for non-legacy. See the complete memo from Penn Alumni here.  

While legacies are admitted at a slightly higher rate, particularly during the Early Decision round, the Alumni Office is very sensitive to the fact that nearly two-thirds of legacy applicants are not admitted to Penn each year. (If you would like to review the most current statistics for University of Pennsylvania, we encourage you to visit the Admissions Incoming Class Profile: Colleges are finding it's (EA and ED) a helpful tool, as well to gauge who is most interested in their school. About 65 percent of colleges report admitting more students under these plans in 2009, and 43 percent in 2008 also reported an increase.

Still, early decision applicants represent only a small portion of the total applicant pool at colleges that have these policies. Only 7 percent of all applications for fall 2009 admission to early decision colleges were received through early decision, the NACAC report showed.

So, it's somewhat of a gutsy move to go early decision—a little less so for early action. Both scenarios require students to be focused and get their act together early in their senior year. Those lucky ones who now know where they are headed next fall can enjoy the holidays—hopefully with no second thoughts about their commitment—while many of their classmates will spend winter break filling out more applications and agonizing in the coming months about their future.

Well, here are the EA/ ED results in thus far compiled from

MIT: On Thursday, the first 772 students were invited to join the Class of 2015. MIT received 6,405 early action applicants, and those accepted have until May to commit. (Admissions Web site)

Yale: On Wednesday officials announced they had invited 761 students to join the Class of 2015. The school had 5,257 early applicants, denied admission to 1,497 and deferred 2,952 students to the regular decision round. The early action program is non-binding. (Yale Daily News article)

Johns Hopkins: On Wednesday morning, admission officials mailed acceptance letters to 518 students who were selected from a pool of 1,330 early-decision applications. Then, starting at 6 p.m. they hit send on an e-mail alert to all of the applicants. Those accepted are expected to pull all other applications and attend Hopkins. (Hopkins Insider live blog)

Georgetown: Officials announced Wednesday they had accepted 1,120 students from a pool of 6,654 early applicants. The early-action program is non-binding, and students have until May 1 to commit. (Press release)

Duke: On Tuesday evening, officials e-mailed 645 students and welcomed them to the Class of 2015. More than 2,200 students applied to the early decision program this year, and those accepted are expected to enroll. (Duke Chronicle article)

Dartmouth: This week officials announced they had accepted 444 students from a pool of 1,759 early-decision applicants. The deadline for admitted students to declare their intent to enroll is later this month. (Press release)

University of Pennsylvania: Early applicants sat at their computers Friday afternoon waiting to check the admissions website at 3 p.m. Out of a pool of 4,571, the university accepted about 1,195 students. The offer is binding and students are only allowed to apply early to one school. (Daily Penn article)

Stanford: Friday afternoon officials e-mailed more than 5,900 early applicants — 754 were accepted, and about 500 were deferred. Students have until May 1 to accept. (Stanford Daily article)

University of Notre Dame: They accepted 1940 students out of the 5300 applications they received. They accepted approximately 36% of those that applied EA for the graduating class of 2011. They had an increase of 21.4% in applications for early action.

Chart Below from NY Time Choice Blog:

More from the NY Times Choice Blog:

New York University said it had received 3,125 applications by the Nov. 1 deadline for its binding, early decision program. While that is about as many as last year at this time, the figures are not comparable; this year, as opposed to last, the university is enabling students to apply during a second round of early decision, with a deadline of Jan. 1.

Among colleges with nonbinding early-action programs — in which those accepted can wait until spring to make their decisions — early applications to the University of Chicago are up 18.5 percent; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about 15 percent; Georgetown, nearly 9 percent; and Boston College, 7 percent.

Lauren Kahn notes: Don't panic if you applied early action or early decision, and received a deferrment or rejection from one of these elite schools above. There is time to regroup and apply to several other schools that could be a great college match for you over this winter break. (January 1st and January 15th are the most common deadlines for regular decision applications.) I do not believe in the soulmate concept for college. I believe there are several schools that are ideal for each candidate and it is what you make of your college experience. In order to give yourself the optimum number of choices for college, have several people that you revere, review your college applications.

Lone Star Ed Consulting offers essay and resume editing services and can provide rush services for a fee. 


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The information was provided by Lauren Kahn, CEO of Lone Star Ed Consulting. If you would like more information about Lone Star Ed Consulting's college planning services, please e-mail Lauren Kahn or call her at 512-294-6608. You can also view LSEDC's brochure here.


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Thank you for your comment. Your input is greatly appreciated. - College News from Texas - Lauren Kahn, M.A.

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