Some students choose to apply to an Early Action (or Early Decision) school that is a big reach. And they figure, “Why not? Might as well.” Often times, these students (and their parents) don’t want to wonder for the rest of their lives if they could have earned admission to a Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Stanford. They want to give it their very best shot and apply SCEA (Single Choice Early Action, the policy at each of these four institutions). But such a strategy is most unwise.
A student only has one Early card (if applying to an Early Decision or Single Choice Early Action school). To not use it wisely is to waste one of the very best cards a student has in his or her back pocket in the highly selective college admissions process. You want to use that Early Decision or Early Action card oh so wisely. To apply to a reach school that is but an impossible dream is to basically throw away your Early card.
Do apply to a reach school in the Early round. But don’t apply to an impossible reach. To do so would be to waste your Early card.
We have a famous crystal ball at Ivy Coach. They write about it on the pages of “The Dartmouth,” the newspaper of Dartmouth College. We can, quite accurately, predict if a student has a reasonable shot of earning admission to an Early Action / Early Decision dream school. And if we believe the school to be an impossible dream, our crystal ball will relay as much to our student. This way, a student doesn’t have to wonder for the rest of her life if she could have gotten into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Stanford because our crystal ball could give her this answer.
And if our crystal ball says it’s an impossible dream, then that student can use her Early card more wisely by applying to a school that is indeed a reach (why apply Early to a safe bet?) but not an impossible reach. Because while our college hockey players did win gold in the 1980 Olympic Games, the impossible dream, as sportscaster Al Michaels called the Miracle on Ice, usually doesn’t come true.
While you’re here, read how only crazy students don’t apply Early Decision or Early Action. And, yes, we firmly stand behind this.