Early applications surge at prestigious colleges. So does early heartache.
“Fewer admits and more deferrals. I mean, across the board. The most extraordinary applicants are getting deferred.”
“You can do everything right and do what you’re supposed to do and still not achieve your goal because there are factors outside your control.”
This year has been very challenging for Early Decision. Many highly-qualified applicants are getting deferred or even denied. As ED grows in popularity, app volume is rising and admit rates are shrinking. Some admissions offices are overwhelmed in ED and defer applicants to Regular Decision just because they can't get through the pile in time.
It has long been the case that the ED round is skewed by recruited athletes and legacies. We're also seeing a major push from highly-selective colleges to attract more low income, underrepresented minorities, underrepresented geographies and first-generation-to-college, making it that much tougher for students who don't have what is awkwardly known as "a hook".
ED can be a great option for the right situation. But it's important to understand the dynamics at work.