This year a lot more high school students seem to be seeking early college admission decisions.
According to anecdotal numbers gathered by Inside Higher Ed, the number of students applying early decision to elite and selective colleges and universities has risen.
Early decision applications at Duke University, for instance, jumped 32% from last year and they have increased 24% at George Washington University. As of Nov. 1, the Common Application, which is used by students applying to many selective private colleges, experienced a 22% increase in college applications.
I’m not surprised by all these early-bird applications. Most of the liberal arts colleges that my son Ben is applying to offer early action. If I remember correctly, when my daughter Caitlin applied to a handful of liberal arts colleges three years ago only Dickinson College extended the opportunity for applying early action.
The early decision option is a controversial one. Affluent students are more likely to use early decision because frankly they can afford to do so. That’s because a student who is accepted early decision is required to go to that school. In theory anyway, if the financial aid package is crummy, a student is still obliged to attend that school.
Many students apply early decision because they believe they will have an admission edge. Ironically, that might not be the case this year because so many students have flocked to this option.
Applying early action isn’t always a smart idea either. I wrote a college blog post about this not long ago; you’ll find the link below.