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Early Decision Applications Increased This Year

That is the headline from quite a few recent articles (here and here) and the NY Times “The Choice” Blog and the Washington Post are keeping a tally. That headline, by the way, has been repeated every year for the last several and it is always followed by the obvious results of an increase in early applications: top colleges and universities turn down or defer more students in the early round.

As I mentioned in a past blog, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) reported that

“For the third year in a row, about half (47 percent) of colleges reported increases in the number of Early Decision applications.” This is from their newly released 2010 State of College Admissions report.  They go on to report that “There was a more dramatic rise, however, in the percentage of colleges reporting increases in the number of students admitted through Early Decision. Sixty-five percent reported increases, compared to 43 percent in 2008 and 36 percent in 2007.”

There should be no question as to why students feel so pressured to apply Early Decision.  And there should be no question that all of this kind of reporting makes high school seniors even more stressed out, if that is possible.

For those who applied Early Decision and were accepted there is huge relief. The process is over, no more essays to write and the rest of their senior year can be enjoyed. For those whose applications were rejected or those in limbo–their applications have been deferred to the regular decision pool–there is increased stress and the application process continues.

And for those students who did not apply Early Decision, they may feel that they are already late to the party. I have noticed that for some students who do not apply Early Decision, there is huge regret in mid-December when their friends and classmates find out they are accepted. They are sorry they didn’t apply early.

There is a long wait between the decisions that come in mid-December and the majority that come in late March/early April. But the good news is that come April, it will be over and things will be settled. And some of the Early Decision students may feel a small tinge of regret that they are not in a position to choose among offers.

And we already know the headlines for early April, “Top College Admit Fewer Students This Year”, as it has been for the last few years which will cause huge stress among the rising seniors for next year.

Janet Rosier