If you want to attend an elite college or university, you can increase your chances if you apply early decision.
That’s one of the conclusions that you can draw from a new annual study released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, The State of College Admission 2010.
Highly selective colleges are increasingly relying on early decision applications to fill their classes. This has always been a controversial practice because it favors wealthy applicants.
Students who apply early decision are expected to enroll if they gain admission to the college. Most students can’t take a chance on applying early decision to a college because of the binding nature of the application. When students are accepted through early decision, they are expected to attend even if they receive a lousy financial aid package or merit award.
Most families are going to want to look at financial aid packages from different schools and see which one is best rather than rolling the dice on just one college. In most cases, only wealthy students should be taking this gamble.
Elite colleges, however, are accepting more students from their early decision pools than ever before. According to the NACAC survey, 65% of colleges with early decision policies increased the number of students they accepted through their early-bird admissions in 2009.
The odds of getting accepted through early decision are much better. During the 2009 admission cycle, according to the NACAC, 70% of students who applied early decision received acceptances versus 55% of all applicants.
Early decision policies help the wealthiest teenagers, but it also helps the colleges’ financial bottom line. And that’s just one reason why I’ve become so cynical covering the higher-ed world.
Here are some recent college blog posts that I’ve written about early decision: