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College Admissions: Ivy League Less Elusive In Early Action/Decision

Monday, December 22, 2014


Over the last week, anxious high school seniors across the country received decisions from many of their Early Action and Early Decision colleges. And while admissions remain selective, it is clear the early bird catches the worm when it comes to elite admissions, with acceptance rates several times higher than during Regular Decision season.

The Breakdown

Brown accepted 20 percent of hopefuls in the Early Decision round for the class of 2019, reflecting a slight increase over last year when they accepted 19 percent of early applicants. Overall, Brown took roughly 9 percent of candidates last year. A college’s overall acceptance rate is a combination of Early Decision/Action rates and the Regular Decision rate—meaning that in many cases, the Regular Decision rates are starkly low.

Harvard accepted 17 percent of Early Action candidates this month compared to 21 percent early last year. And Yale made offers to 16 percent of their Single Choice Early Action pool, which parallels last year’s numbers. Both Harvard and Yale accepted just 6% of applicants overall for the class of 2018. 

UPenn sent out invitations to 24 percent of Early Decision candidates to join them for the class of 2019, making it marginally more selective than last year at 25 percent. Dartmouth had similar numbers with a 26 percent Early Decision rate this year vs. 28 percent last year. 

Princeton accepted 20 percent of early applicants for the class of 2019, a few more students than for the class of 2018 when 18.5 percent were accepted early. 
Outside of the Ivy League at other extremely selective colleges, MIT and Stanford took just 10 percent of their early hopefuls.

Harvard University

Important Factors

Although the numbers show that admission to the nation’s most selective universities appears easier during Early Action and Early Decision, it is prudent to note several important factors.

First, the early applicant pool can be laden with more competitive candidates, who typically complete their applications earlier.

Second, the acceptance rate contains recruited athletes who are being supported by coaches, and the children of professors and other staff members who are often given special consideration.

And finally, a number of legacy and VIP donor applicants also apply during early admission. Still, with numbers 4 and 5 times Regular Decision rates, early admission does yield advantages for students who are prepared and willing to take the plunge early.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, individual counseling for college-bound students. http://www.collegeadvisorsonline.com.


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