College Admissions: Early Decision Applications In Rising Popularity

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Many high school seniors try to ease the uncertainty in applying to college by applying early decision. Early decision binds both the student and the college into admittance months earlier than the regular admission decision.  Recent evidence reveals a general trend showing an increasing percentage of early decision applications on an annual basis.  If you are certain about a particular university, applying through the early decision program can be very beneficial.

Benefits of applying for Early Decision:

1) Increase your chances of being accepted by as much as two or three times than as a regular decision applicant.  For example, at Dartmouth, the admission acceptance rate of ED applicants is 26% while the admission acceptance rate of regular decision applicants is 8%.

2) Receive your admission status no later than December 15.  Regular decision applicants find out their college’s decision around April 1.

3) Save you the expense you would have ended up spending applying to several regular decision schools.

Here is a list of several schools, which have published their early decision increases.

**Note: Percentage below is not admission rate, rather, distribution of the total admitted students.

Duke Early Decision Statistics:

Increase: 18.37%
Class of 2016: 2,636 early decision applications

Class of 2015: 2,227 early decision applications

17% of total admits are ED applicants vs. 83%  as RD applicants

Occidental Early Decision Statistics:

Increase: 7.30%

Class of 2016: 250 early decision applications

Class of 2015: 233 early decision applications

4% of total admits are ED applicants vs. 96%  as RD applicants

**Note: Occidental has a first year class size enrollment of 577

Cornell Early Decision Statistics:

Increase: 3.48%

Class of 2016: 3,600 early decision applications

Class of 2015: 3,479 early decision applications

19% of total admits are ED applicants vs. 81% as RD applicants

Dartmouth Early Decision Statistics:

Increase: 2.39%

Class of 2016: 1,801 early decision applications

Class of 2015: 1,759 early decision applications

20% of total admits are ED applicants vs. 80%  as RD applicants

The biggest drawback of the early decision program is reduced financial aid opportunities.  Students who apply under the early decision program receive offers of admission and financial aid simultaneously.  Since this program has a binding decision and limits the student to one university, the university has all the bargaining power and can severely limit its financial aid package to a particular student.  The student has no leverage to negotiate a better financial aid package since the school knows you can’t go anywhere else.  For students who absolutely need financial aid, applying early decision may be a risky option.

It is important to note that regular decision college applicants have also shown considerable growth.  For example, at Case Western, applications increased by 45 percent in a one-year period.  In addition, after adopting the standardized Common Application, the University of Michigan and Columbia University experienced a growth in regular decision applications of 18% and 32% respectively.   Another contributing factor is the influx of applications from international students.   The number of applications submitted by students in China continues to grow annually.  Students living in Saudi Arabia also continue to submit U.S college applications since many end up receiving full-scholarships from their government to study abroad.

As college applications continue to rise, it becomes crucial for individual students to differentiate themselves.   Higher SAT scores and superb essays is one example.

For any college admissions advice, consult with our experts at Manhattan Elite Prep.



Manhattan Elite Prep is a multi-national test prep, Graduate School, Law School, College Admission Advisors, and a Career Training provider with a focus on the GMAT, MBA, TOEFL, GRE, LSAT, SAT/ACT, MCAT.
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