Colleges across the nation have begun to publicize early acceptance results for the high school Class of 2020, and, for the first time in years, these results provide an optimistic outlook for the “normal” student. While all the data is not in yet, we already can see a RISE in acceptance rates across the Ivies (Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, UPenn) alongside other well-known schools such as Duke. At the same time, we see a DECLINE in the number of students who are applying to schools during the early admissions cycle. In other words, there has never been a better time for students to apply to colleges early.
Harvard, for example, saw its acceptance rate increase for the first time in nearly a decade (13.4% to 13.9%) while the number of early applicants decreased by 7%. U Penn also broke a near decade record in declining Early Decision acceptance rates by admitting 19.7% of applicants. (It accepted 17.9% for the high school Class of 2019.)
Admissions officers and industry experts have offered various theories as to this decline but ultimately this should be good news for future student applicants who have waited a long time for a reprieve in the record-breaking competition that had characterized the admissions process. While a percentage point difference in admit rates might not seem like much, it can mean the difference between a student getting accepted or declined at any particular school–if that student knows how to leverage the current admissions climate. Leveraging that information requires good answers to questions such as:
- Will I be ready to apply early? How can I get ready?
- Which early admissions college will give me a competitive advantage?
- How can I best strategize my early admissions options?
- What qualities or characteristics are trending in early admissions decisions?
- What changes in admissions trends (including those resulting from admissions scandals) give me a competitive edge?
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