News Spotlight: Popularity of Early Decision Up, But Not Its Edge

Post date: Dec 20, 2012 9:04:22 AM

From a recent Education Week article: "Popularity of Early Decision Up, But Not Its Edge":

New data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling show students are increasingly applying early, but the edge it gives them in the admissions process is fading.

Early Decision (ED) is a process where students make a binding commitment to their first-choice school if admitted. Some students apply ED in hopes of receiving an advantage with a higher admissions rate. The article notes that there is a slight advantage:

There is a higher acceptance rate for those who are willing to commit early—59 compared with 53 percent, NACAC's latest research shows.

But the ED gamble used to give students much better odds. From 2007-2009, ED schools reported acceptance-rate advantages of 12 percent to 15 percent for such applicants compared with the current 6 percent advantage.

Applying ED to a school is a big decision, and the wise student should know how much of an edge s/he is getting in exchange for giving up flexibility and options regarding scholarships and financial aid.