For the Class of 2021, not only is the University of Chicago accepting the Common Application, the Universal Application, and the Coalition Application, the school has also changed the way students can apply. In the past, students only had the option of applying Early Action (or Regular Decision), and the University of Chicago was always a great choice in the Early round if a student was applying to other Early Action schools — including those that subscribed to Restrictive Early Action policies. Students even applied to the University of Chicago Early Action while applying to another college Early Decision. That was always a great strategy, one we encouraged. Why not have backups in the Early round? It’s only logical. A student just couldn’t apply to the University of Chicago if they were applying to colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Stanford because these four institutions are Single Choice Early Action schools.
Early applicants to the University of Chicago, beginning with the Class of 2021, will now have more options.
For the Class of 2021, the University of Chicago has kept its Early Action option intact, but the university has added not only Early Decision I but also Early Decision II. With these added options in the Early round, we may have to walk back a bit what we said just yesterday on the pages of our college admissions blog. Apparently the University of Chicago does care very much about the number of undergraduate applications they receive — that’s why they’re adding more options for Early applicants. And yet the school still wants its applicants to love the University of Chicago and to show their interest in the school…hence their very unique essay prompts (prompts that are arguably more unique than any other university in America).
What do you think of the University of Chicago’s three Early options — Early Action, Early Decision I, and Early Decision II? We’re curious to hear from our readers so do post a Comment below and we’ll be sure to write back.
We firmly believe that only crazy students don’t apply Early Decision or Early Action. The odds of getting in through the Early Decision or Early Action round (depending on the college’s policy) are so much stronger than are the odds of getting in during the Regular Decision round. Just look at the statistics at the University of Pennsylvania if you’re unaware of the drastic difference in a student’s chances of admission in the Early round as compared to the Regular round. Does the University of Pennsylvania value its Early Decision applicants? You bet they do. They love students who love them.
And the University of Pennsylvania is not alone. All colleges want to be loved. They’re insecure like that. Applying Early gives them a sense of security. Because when you apply Early Decision, you make a binding commitment to that school that you will attend. And that of course helps the school’s yield since 100% of students (with a couple of rare exceptions) who are admitted Early Decision will matriculate. It’s important to know that yield indirectly impacts a school’s “US News & World Report” ranking, which is fundamentally important to the admissions offices at every single highly selective college (no matter what it is they tell you about rankings). In Regular Decision, these schools have to sway students to choose them, to love them over other schools. If a school has an Early Decision policy, they don’t have to sway any admitted students about anything. They have that sense of security in that way.
Too non-commital to commit to a school in the Early round? Get over it and get over it fast.
And for those schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford that have Single Choice Early Action policies, most students who are admitted in the Early round will end up attending, even though it isn’t a binding commitment. Most folks don’t turn down Harvard. So, yes, a student has better odds of getting into these four universities if he or she applies Early too.
To not apply Early Decision or Early Action…it’s nuts. You have to make a commitment to one school in the end anyway. Why not do it in the Early round when the odds are ever more in your favor, to paraphrase from “The Hunger Games”?
There are some folks who argue that Early Decision and Early Action policies at highly selective colleges cater to the wealthy, to the disadvantage of middle and lower income college applicants. But these folks — as we’ve been saying for years — are wrong to assert such. Do wealthier applicants tend to apply in the Early Decision / Early Action round as compared to the Regular Decision round? You bet. But not for the right reasons.
As the University of Pennsylvania’s always candid Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said in reference to the Early Decision round at Penn in a piece in “The Washington Post,” “‘This pool is becoming broader and deeper and more diverse than it’s ever been. It’s time to start telling that story,’ Furda said. ‘I don’t want lower-income families to be told, ‘Don’t apply early decision because you’re going to need to compare financial-aid packages.” These days, nearly as many early-decision freshmen receive need-based grants from Penn as their peers admitted in the regular cycle, he said.” We echo the sentiments expressed by Eric Furda.
The fact is that most applicants choose not to apply Early Decision because they’re not ready to make a commitment. Nick Anderson, in his piece in “The Washington Post” referred to those who are willing to make this commitment as “the Pledgers” whereas those who choose to apply Regular Decision instead are “the Shoppers.” We don’t disagree with these labels but we do take issue with Anderson referring to the Pledgers as “a privileged subset.” Students need to commit to one college in the end anyway. Why should the students who have the chutzpah to commit to a school Early — when the odds are so much more in their favor (just look at UPenn’s admissions statistics over the years) — be disparaged? Why should the students who don’t wish to apply to 20 schools and only wish to apply to one school and be done with it be labeled “a privileged subset”? We’ve got a more appropriate label for “the Pledgers” — savvy!
Most highly selective colleges have only one round of Early Decision. But at some schools — both highly selective, selective, and not particularly selective — there are two distinct rounds of Early Decision. So we figured we’d share with the readers of our college admissions blog the colleges that offer two rounds of Early Decision. Well, actually that list is a bit long for our liking so we’ll cherry pick the highly selective or selective ones. Apologies to any we chose not to cherry pick.
American University, Bates Colleges, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, Carleton College, Claremont McKenna College, Colby College, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Davidson College, Emory University, George Washington University, Grinnell College, Hamilton College, Harvey Mudd College, Lehigh University, Middlebury College, New York University, Oberlin College, Occidental College, Pomona College, University of Richmond, Sarah Lawrence College, Smith College, Swarthmore College, Tufts University, Vanderbilt University, Vassar College, and Wesleyan University.
So many of the small liberal arts schools in New England offer two rounds of Early Decision. We’d sure call it a trend. Wouldn’t you? Have a question about Early Decision 2? If so, post your question below and we’ll be sure to write back.
A student who was deferred in the Early Action round at Harvard this year (he is not an Ivy Coach client) reached out to us letting us know that he reads our blog and finds it a valuable resource for students navigating the highly selective college admissions process. He asked if we wouldn’t mind publishing a video he made for submission to Harvard, a video he hopes will improve his odds of earning admission in the Regular Decision round to the university. It’s a parody of the infamous “Miss Universe Pageant” hosted by Steve Harvey.
We should preface sharing this video with this: We do not recommend that deferred students to Harvard — or any other highly selective university — submit videos to the admissions office. While every now and then a video will work (and go viral), in most cases they fall flat. This video, one intended to be humorous, falls completely flat for us. It doesn’t feel fresh. It didn’t make us giggle. It’s not emblematic of the kind of humor that, say, “The Harvard Lampoon” is known for (Conan O’Brien was a past president of “The Harvard Lampoon.”
Deferred students should submit a very powerful and compelling Letter of Enthusiasm (a term we at Ivy Coach coined years ago) to the university that deferred them. It gives them the best possible shot of earning admission. Do students who are deferred have a good shot of getting in during the Regular Decision round? No. At most highly selective colleges, they’ve got a 10% shot of getting in. An amazing Letter of Enthusiasm significantly improves these odds (an ordinary Letter of Enthusiasm can hurt more than help!). And as for this video, we’re not sure it improved the candidate’s odds at all unfortunately. In fact, we think it will hurt more than help (though we hope we’re wrong and we are rooting for this student (who obviously doesn’t read our blog too closely because we’d never suggest he submit a video like this!).
Deferred at Harvard? Fill out our free consult form as, if you haven’t done anything just yet, we can still help! If you’ve already submitted videos like these, we wish you all the best but, regrettably, there isn’t much we can do.
Ivy Coach is featured extensively on the pages of “The Brown Daily Herald” today, the newspaper of Brown University. In a piece by Alex Skidmore entitled “Jump in early admission lowers total acceptance rate,” the slug-line (is that what you call it?) reads: “Ivy Coach expert says higher early admission rate calculated effort to boost University rankings.” Well but of course! Regular readers of our college admissions blog know that highly selective colleges (and Brown is surely not the only culprit here — they’re all guilty) want as many students to apply as possible since, invariably, the more students who apply, the lower the acceptance rate will be. One does not need to take Differential Equations to understand this math. It’s simple arithmetic. And long division, we suppose.
It’s the best class ever! It’s not like we’ve never seen that before. JK!
As we’re quoted in the piece, “Brian Taylor, director of Ivy Coach, offered a different perspective. The number of applications that the University has received in total has risen steadily over the years, but the University is not receiving more qualified applicants, he said. ‘Colleges are getting better and better at getting unqualified students to apply,’ Taylor said. This allows the University to tout ‘the most competitive class ever,’ he added. This process is meant to boost a school’s U.S. News and World Report ranking, Taylor said. ‘There is no bigger impact (on admission) than the annual rankings,’ he added. In some parts of the world, the U.S. News and World Report rankings system is ‘the Bible’ of college admission and a deciding factor for many students applying, he said.”
The piece goes on, “When universities admit more students through a binding early decision process, they have to admit fewer students during regular decision, thereby lowering their overall acceptance rate, Taylor said. Universities are guaranteed 100 percent matriculation from early decision applicants because of their binding commitment to attend the school.” And it goes on further, “Brown and its peer schools then have to admit more students than they expect will eventually attend, increasing their acceptance rate and lowering their selectivity score for the rankings. Though this phenomenon occurs at all highly selective universities, Penn has used this tactic most blatantly, Taylor said.”
We always do like to offer that “different” perspective. Whatever. We’ll own it. Agree with us? Disagree? We’re curious to hear your thoughts so post a Comment below and we’ll be sure to write back.
Ivy Coach was featured a few days back on the pages of the University of Pennsylvania’s newspaper, “The Daily Pennsylvanian.” The piece, written by Sophia Leporte, is entitled “Early Decision pool becoming more diverse” and, naturally, it focuses on how the group of students who applied Early to UPenn is more diverse than ever before. Regular readers of our college admissions blog know that we encourage all of our students to apply Early Decision or Early Action. In fact, if a student should come to us before the Early round and not wish to apply Early, we won’t work with this student. And why? Because that student isn’t willing to play his or her cards right to get in. An Early Decision or Early Action card is one of the few cards that a college applicant to a school like the University of Pennsylvania has in the back pocket. To not use it is, in a word, nuts.
One reason some folks choose not to apply Early Decision or Early Action is because they don’t think they’ll get the best financial aid offer if they only apply to, say, one school. Here’s our answer, as quoted in “The Daily Pennsylvanian”: “Brian Taylor, the director of college counseling practice Ivy Coach, acknowledges that more underprivileged students may not be applying early because of this but notes that it is a misconception, since many universities, including Penn, have now made financial aid calculators easily accessible on their websites. ‘Yes, fewer underprivileged applicants apply in the early round,’ Taylor said. ‘And often for the wrong reasons — because they want to compare higher financial aid packages when, in fact, you can find that information out without even applying to colleges.'” And while this remains an issue not just at UPenn but at every highly selective college in America, as the piece points out, “Taylor agrees that the diversity of Penn’s early decision round is getting better. ‘It’s still somewhat of an issue, but it is not as drastic as some people may think,’ Taylor said.”
So many students choose not to apply Early Decision and so many of them make this decision for the wrong reason.
Have a question about applying Early Decision or Early Action? Think that the Early Decision or Early Action pool at various highly selective colleges is less diverse than the Regular Decision pools? Don’t like this? We’re curious to hear from our readers so post a Comment below and we’ll be sure to write back.
There is a heartwarming story in “The Daily Pennsylvanian” today, the newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania, about a young man who has been homeless for much of his life who earned admission in the Early Decision round to Penn. Regular readers of our college admissions blog might remember that we once helped a homeless student earn admission to one of America’s most highly selective universities — a young man who juggled (literally) to pay for food. He is a young man we will never forget. And this young man featured in today’s “Daily Pennsylvanian,” Johnathan Phillips, a senior at McKinney North High School in Texas, reminds us of him.
As articulated in “The Daily Pennsylvanian” piece about the new UPenn admit, “Phillips has been homeless on and off for months at a time since he was about seven years old. He has lived with friends, in a homeless shelter and sometimes for a few days on the streets. His mother, Deanna Phillips, was unable to work because of an illness and was also undergoing a custody battle for Phillips’ half-sister — some of the circumstances that financially drained their family. ‘We take care of each other. It’s just been kind of our thing,’ Phillips said.”
Phillips was a QuestBridge winner, which means that his tuition for the four years of his University of Pennsylvania education is fully covered. And of course he’ll be offered stable housing too. He is among 50 QuestBridge winners admitted to the University of Pennsylvania in the Early Decision round and we are certain that this young man, who wishes to study political science and chemistry (but also has an aptitude for writing), will bring a wonderful and unique perspective to campus life. We at Ivy Coach salute the University of Pennsylvania for offering this young man admission. But we have a feeling it is the university that should be grateful for he sounds like an amazing young man.
The statistics are in for the MIT Class of 2020, at least the part of the class filled during the Early Action round. In all 656 students earned admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall out of a total Early Action pool of 7,767 applicants (which marked a record for the institution). It doesn’t take an MIT math genius to know that this leads to a 8.4% Early Action admission rate for the Class of 2020, besting last year’s 9.6% admission rate. That’s quite a big difference in the course of a year.
As reported by Gabriella Studt in “The Tech,” the newspaper of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “The dramatic increase in early applications may be attributed to a change in policy this year. For the first time, international students were allowed to apply for consideration during the early action round of admissions. Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86 said that he was ‘really pleased’ to be able to open early action program to international students. The policy change ‘certainly made the decisions that much tougher — we received about a thousand applications from international students — but also allowed us to admit a few more students than we did last year,’ Schmill said. Among the early admits, 6 percent are international students. By comparison, about 9.7 percent of the current undergraduate student body is international. The diversity of this year’s early admits extends beyond just the geographic: 14 percent will be the first in their family to graduate from college, 27 percent identify as underrepresented minorities, and 49 percent are women.”
So sometimes it’s just conjecture why an applicant pool increased significantly from year to year, while sometimes there is a clear reason for the surge. For MIT’s Class of 2020, that reason is quite clear. And if you happen to be wondering how many students’ admission was deferred, that number stands at 4,776 for the Early round at MIT this year. And how many were denied admission? 2,175. So, as per usual, more were deferred than denied. We believe schools should flip those numbers, to not give students false hope. It’s not like they’re going to offer admission to over 4,000 deferred applicants. At most highly selective colleges, about 10% of deferred applicants end up getting in during the Regular Decision round. At Ivy Coach, we help students who come to us for the first time after getting deferred earn admission to schools like MIT each and every year.
The statistics are in for the Stanford Early Action Class of 2020 and we’ve got this data for our readers. In all, 745 students earned admission to The Farm this Early Action cycle. 7,822 students submitted applications to Stanford this Early Action cycle so that means the acceptance rate stands at 9.5%. It marked the largest Early pool in the university’s history and from this pool, 701 still have a shot at getting in as their admission was deferred to the Regular Decision round (although at most highly selective colleges, the odds of getting in after being deferred are around 10%).
An article by Sarah Wishingrad for “The Stanford Daily” reports on Stanford’s Early Action Class of 2020. In it, Wishingrad writes, “This year’s early acceptance rate was lower than last year’s, which was 10.2 percent. For the Class of 2019, Stanford accepted 743 and deferred 562 students out of a pool of 7,297 early applicants…The 745 early admits come from 48 states and 34 countries, according to Richard Shaw, dean of admission and financial aid. Over 80 percent of the students have a high school grade point average of 4.0 or above.”
Stanford is expecting about 35,000 students to submit applications in the Regular Decision round. That’s quite a lot of applicants! Anyhow, congratulations to our students at Ivy Coach who earned admission to Stanford University to be members of the Class of 2020 this Early Action admissions cycle. We’re so very excited for you!