The Early Admissions Decision: To Apply Early or Not

It’’s no secret that competition to gain acceptance to the nation’s top colleges is fierce. Students, now more than ever, are always looking for ways to improve their odds of admission. If you’’ve narrowed down your university choices and are considering applying early to a school, the following are some interesting factors to take into account.

You may have heard that ‘early decision’ or ‘early action’ programs present an advantage to high school seniors applying to colleges. A recent U.S. News & Report analysis indicated that this was indeed the case at over 80 percent of colleges, confirming that seniors applying via early decision are more likely to be accepted over those applying under regular deadline.

Many colleges attribute the higher acceptance rate to the fact that more qualified and organized students tend to apply early, arguing that those students would still gain admission had they applied in December or January, during the normal deadline period. Still, certain universities openly state that they give preference to early applicants who have shown a demonstrated interest and commitment.

Still, there is debate over whether early admissions programs are beneficial to students. School officials at Harvard and several other colleges discontinued early admissions program in 2006 after research showed that these early programs provided hurdles for economically disadvantaged students and that wealthy or privileged students benefited the most. Many schools, including Harvard College and Princeton University, have since reinstated offering the early admissions option.

Because those who apply to schools early generally receive less financial aid than others, students who need financial aid are usually counseled to apply to several schools using the regular process, and to compare several offers before committing to one particular institution. Of the decision to reinstate and improve early admissions programs, Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds said, “The commitment to including first-generation, low-income, and historically disadvantaged minority students in the full spectrum of admissions options is a key feature of this new early-action option.”

What does this mean for you? If, after researching your options, you are confident about attending a particular university, applying early can be a great option. You can show admissions officers your commitment and initiative in the process, not to mention the slight advantage you will have over your competition. As always, it is important to work with your school counselors and review potential schools’ admissions policies before making this decision.

For more assistance with college admissions, contact Aureus Prep.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *