To Apply Early Or Not That Is The Question

“I’ll have a better chance of admission if I apply early, right?” is a popular question at this time of year, every year. Applicants, seeking any seeming advantage in the admissions process, believing the objective is winning a vaunted acceptance letter, can naively choose to apply during early admissions rounds. 

Groomed since Pre-K, many current Gen Z’ers, like Millennials, many Gen X’ers, and Boomers before them, believe a college degree is a Golden Ticket, a promise of economic prosperity. Thus, many choose early admission—Early Action, Early Decision, Single Choice or Restrictive Early Action—typically obscured by fear of unmet expectations, naively conflating a statistically higher early admissions admit rate versus regular decision as “greater chance of admissions.”

But, as Mark Twain famously quipped, “Lies, damned lies and statistics”, potential early applicants would be prudent to examine such statistics and understand where, if any, advantage is apparent. Asking questions like: 

  • What are the academic and extracurricular qualifications of people in the early admissions rounds? 
  • How many of the early applicants are recruited athletes who have been pre-vetted and have the additional support of a coach, thus the likelihood of their admissions is greater, their numbers adding to the greater percentage of early admits? 
  • What percentage of the early applicants are “deferred” to the regular decision pool and why? 
  • Why do admissions officers promote early admissions as strenuously as they do? What’s the institutional incentive for admissions officers to admit anywhere from 25% to 50% of their class early? 

With greater understanding of early admissions, then students can choose the application deadline which best suits their ability to confidently submit an application with the most refined autobiographical essays possible.

Since 2003, Creative Marbles’ educational experts have collaboratively advised families throughout the United States and globally who seek the greatest value in education for their children’s prosperity. Contact us for more details.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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