What can we learn from colleges’ acceptance rates?

What does a college’s admission rate really mean? Why does it matter if you apply early or regular decision?

Let’s take for instance the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) during this past application season. While its early decision acceptance rate was 18%, the overall acceptance rate for the Class of 2023 hovers at around 7%. It seems your overall chances at Penn would be seven out of a hundred, right? Not quite. If you waited until the Regular Decision deadline to apply to Penn, the regular decision admission rate was an unforgiving 5%.

While the math here regarding early-versus-regular decision admit rates is obvious, this is but one of many factors that you should consider throughout the application process. Even for Penn’s Early Decision applicants, more than four out of every five were turned down.

In addition to carefully weighing whether to apply under Early Decision I, Single Choice Early Action, or Early Decision II, students need to communicate all the necessary information about themselves.

How will you show that you are prepared for the academic rigors of university? Which activities and summer programs help distinguish you from the rest of the pack? Do you have a creative portfolio that highlights your unique talent?

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