“I have heard that applying early decision makes the chance of acceptance exponentially greater.” Is this true? It is a complicated question because it is not necessarily in your best interest to apply to a school early decision. How do you know when it is favorable?
Well, this is really what you want to have research about before you make your choice. If you need support, I can certainly help in this regard. If you are a trooper and want to wade through your colleges then you need to pay attention to your list and start to ask specific questions. You can always call colleges for information that you cannot find online.
First, most colleges will let you know if early decision gives you an advantage during their admission review process. All schools, which offer an early decision option, want you to carefully think about this choice because this is a commitment. You must go to the school should you be accepted. Think through this choice carefully. If it is possible for you, a visit to the school is strongly suggested. Some colleges can support travel costs. If you are unsure, ask!
Second, you only can apply to one school early decision. You are signing an agreement guaranteeing you will attend if accepted. Be sure to look at the volume of applications that the school has submitted early. Know how large your pool of competition is. Are your grades at least in the top quartile of those previously accepted? Are your test scores at the highest end of the school’s accepted range? Check to see how viable you are a candidate. There is no harm in applying to a school you dearly love, even if you are not necessarily in the top of the statistics, but know that you only have one ED card to use.
Third, look at the percentage of accepted early by the school. Some schools accept as much as 50% of their freshman class early. This is a very large percentage. Some only select 10% early. What does this mean for you? Well, if only 10% are accepted early, then the criteria for those 10% might be more critical. You might get pushed out if the competition has much higher scores and grades than what you have researched based on past acceptances. The whole college admission process is very dynamic, and what was accepted early that is published right now might be much lower than what is submitted this fall. Typically the published data is at least a year if not two years old of the entering freshman statistics when you are a junior doing your research. A lot can change in just one year in an applicant pool for any given college. If 50% of the class is accepted early, then there is a wider range of what will get accepted, and quite honestly, if it is your first choice, then you really should apply early. 50% is a very large percentage.
Some students will be recruited by a school. As the fall approaches, these students will have much more specific information as to their likeliness of acceptance. These students will have no choice as far as application deadlines. They will be requested to apply ED. The larger the school means the greater the athletic pool that will be applying ED. Knowing this, you must evaluate how many people from your own secondary school are applying to this school…are they athletes that have bids? Are there more fellow students with same or better course selections, grades, and test scores? Know this is your first competition. How do you measure up against your classmates also applying ED?
Does this mean that you can’t apply ED, absolutely NOT! It simply means that you need to have perspective as to what your odds are in the early pool. There are other qualities and facts that can influence, such as legacy programs. Good and thorough research into how the ED process works in the school you want the most is really something that you need to do to understand how to best take advantage of this option, if it is something you want. You can always contact me to help with this important choice.