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Growing Early Decision Trend

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“We now have many, many colleges taking anywhere from fifty to as much as sixty percent of their class through either early decision or possibly early decision round two.”

– Dr. Soud

As the November 1 and 15 deadlines loomed near, many seniors crammed into the college counseling office for last minute revisions and submissions–not for the final deadline of the year but for Early Decision.

  While Early Decision appears to be a growing trend, students have many different reasons for deciding to apply Early Decision, from family connections to the possibility of playing a sport .

        Senior Ricky Garcia applied Early Decision to Duke University because “It has a great public policy program, which is what I’m thinking about majoring in. And another thing that I think played into it a lot is that my dad went there and growing up you know he took me to the basketball games. I went on campus a lot and I went to camps at Duke and it was just a big presence for me. So, I always definitely liked it a lot.”

        For Kamren Khan, who applied Early Decision to Dartmouth College, said, “I applied ED to Dartmouth because it’s rural, academically rigorous, surrounded by beautiful

nature, I’d be able to ski, and I like the school’s culture.” Specifically, Khan appreciates the culture of community, “ they have a bunch of traditions and things like first year trips to bring the class closer together.”

    College counselor Martin Walsh at the Harker School in California gives college admissions workshops to an international audience and writes in a 2018 International Educator magazine, many schools are receiving an all-time high of Early Decision applications. For example, “Dartmouth experienced a 13.5 percent increase in early-decision applications. They admitted 565 students, for an admit rate of 25 percent.”      

  In addition, Walsh wrote,“Duke posted huge gains in the early-decision round, as they received 4,090 applications for an increase of 16 percent. Not surprisingly, the admit rate dropped to 21.4 percent, representing 875 admits.”

    In summary, as colleges receive more applications early decision, admissions rate for the later application cycles go down in response.

   Before deciding to apply to Dartmouth Early Decision, Khan also considered applying Early Decision to the University of Chicago. At University of Chicago, Khan, who runs cross country for Bolles, would likely be able to run. At Dartmouth, however, Khan said it would be much more difficult to qualify.

  In the end, Khan decided “Sports played a pretty substantial role in the decision but academics, location and community come first.”

         While each student has a different reason for applying Early Decision, the benefits of applying Early Decision are applicable to most people.  According to Dr. Stephen Soud “ After the recession and for a variety of other reasons colleges decided they could lock in more of their class under early decision so we now have many, many colleges taking anywhere from fifty to as much as sixty percent of their class through either early decision or possibly early decision round two.”

   As stated by Garcia, “Duke, on their website does state ‘we take more early decision applicants’ on purpose, there’s a lot of schools like that.”

    Dr. Soud said, “We now have many, many colleges taking anywhere from fifty to as much as sixty percent of their class through either early decision or possibly early decision round two.”

   However, Dr. Soud also pointed out some of the negatives to applying Early Decision “That puts a lot of pressure on seniors if they want to have a shot at getting into sort of the college, they have to bolster their odds by applying early decision.”

    Garcia pointed out the merits of applying Early Decision regardless of if it factors in your admissions decision “Even if it doesn’t give that much of a boost, if you just know that you’d rather go there than anywhere else, it’s a good step to take.”

 

Application Terminology

Early Decision: Binding, If accepted you must attend

Early Decision II: Second Round of ED, the same except with a later deadline

Early Action: Non-Binding, Shows demonstrated interest without committing

Rolling Admissions: You apply under a wider period of time

 

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Growing Early Decision Trend