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The current Early Decision figures and what they mean.

There are many forms of binding and non-binding Early Decision and Early Action options. Let’s just look historically at what is happening to the general Early Decision acceptance rates and what is happening, as an example, at one Ivy League. Early Admission rates have been creeping up steadily with each year reporting historic highs. Suddenly, schools are leaving 10% rates behind and approaching 30 to 35% Early Decision admit rates.

How does this increase in Early Decision rates affect the application process?

Students who apply Early Decision must have all materials including recommendations submitted by Nov 1 of the senior year. Since admissions are reported to be “reading” applications in October, students are applying well in advance of the Nov 1 deadline, as early as October 1. Therefore, students are applying with grades only through the junior year but also with recommendations based only on teachers’ assessment of them as juniors. Recommenders will not have the opportunity to see the student as a senior in senior classes before they need to write.

At the smallest Ivy League, Dartmouth College, the Class of 2021 had a record early decision application pool of 1,999 and a record number of offers, 555.

“The admitted students will form around 47 percent of the incoming class. Compared to last year’s early decision admits, the Class of 2021 had a higher number of students in the top 10 percent of their high school classes in addition to higher average scores on the ACT and SAT. This year’s 27.8 percent acceptance rate is an increase from last year’s 25.6 percent. The overall number of applications went up by 3.7 percent.” *

This suggests that Dartmouth expects nearly half the class is going to be filled with Early Decision applicants! The highest number of Early Decision admits I have seen to date.

How does this affect financial aid?

At Dartmouth, “Fifty-two percent of the students have applied for financial aid—up from 48 last year—while at least 11 percent are eligible for Pell Grants.

The change this year to an October filing of the FAFSA has worked to the advantage of Early Decision applicants and may have driven the numbers of applicants up over last year.

How does Rivermont Collegiate respond to both the earlier “read” date and the high Early Decision admit rate?

Rivermont Collegiate’ s continuing focus is on a best fit college and on positioning our students to compete at the highest levels at challenging and selective schools. While our emphasis during the Upper School years is on learning not on applying to college per se, we will be helping the Class of 2018 and beyond be prepared to enter the Early Decision pool if they wish.

*The Ivy Coach

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