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why are ED acceptance rates higher than overall?


AEC
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DS is very interested in Northwestern. I think he'd prefer that over anything else, excepting Stanford which seems like a long-shot.

Northwestern's ED acceptance rate is reportedly 25% vs 7% overall. Several of the competitive universities seem to have a similar trend where ED rates are higher.

Is that just because the ED students are stronger than the general population, or is there an edge given to ED applicants because you've indicated a commitment to the institution? Put another way, is the same competitive applicant more likely to get in if applying ED vs regular decision at competitive institutions? DS's ACT scores and GPA are above the 75th percentile of reported admitted students, but I'm sure there are plenty of similar-looking-on-paper students who still don't get in.

 

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It's also about money.  If you don't qualify for a lot of financial aid, they take your ED commitment as agreement to pay the price they offer.  We have a young friend who was wildly overqualified, applied ED to Middlebury, was accepted with zero aid.  Yes, he went.

Absolutely a better way to apply if you don't need to compare aid packages.

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12 minutes ago, Harpymom said:

It's also about money.  If you don't qualify for a lot of financial aid, they take your ED commitment as agreement to pay the price they offer.  We have a young friend who was wildly overqualified, applied ED to Middlebury, was accepted with zero aid.  Yes, he went.

Not correct. You can withdraw from the ED agreement for financial reasons. It is not binding if you cannot afford to go.

Edited by regentrude
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I don’t know about Northwestern specifically, but as I understand it the ED rate is not really 25% for the regular ED applicant, becauce legacies, sports recruits, etc, are also included in that ED pool. The ED rate is of course higher than RD, but not quite that much higher as the numbers would suggest.

 

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Student who apply early decision are stronger than average students and are expressing strong interest in the school.  It isn't just that a school wants its yield to be high, it wants its yield to be fairly predictable.  If a school has 2000 first-year student places and has 1000 early decision applicants it can accept all 1000 applicants without worrying about being "over" if all applicants accept.  The school would then have 1000 places left.  It wil accept more than 1000 applicants knowing that all will not attend.  But how many does it need to accept to get to that magic 1000 students attending?  2000?  3000?  It has to be conservative enough not to overaccept but not so conservative that it doesn't fill its class.  

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

The elite universities know that their applicants apply to a bunch of schools, especially because each has such a small acceptance rate. However, you can only apply ED to one school. That means there is a much higher chance that the student will actually come.
It's about yield.

which suggests that a generally qualified candidate is actually more likely to get in if they apply ED?

The student in question is above NW's 75th percentile in both ACT score and unweighted core-gpa. The question DS is asking is if he should apply ED to Northwestern (which he'd be totally excited to attend) because it maximizes his chances of getting in even though sucess would mean punting on Stanford (which he thinks is pretty unlikely). If the odds of admittance aren't any better, then there's no reason to do that. If they are better, he'll probably go that way to reduce the chances of not getting into either. Which I think he would find pretty disappointing. 

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I would also apply to Northwestern. Plenty of kids with perfect scores and double digit AP courses with all fives get rejected at Stanford ED. Unless you are a kid of a celebrity, a major donor, a genius, a child of faculty, an athlete, or a minority, you are playing a losing game there. Northwestern will be a much more conquerable gamble. 

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35 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

Is there data on this? 

I don't know if there is data available for this--I have heard it from several Admissions Directors.  Students who have good test scores early on, high GPAs with AP or Dual Enrollment by the time they start their senior year, already have their essays perfected, and are well organized are the students who apply for ED.  The students who do not apply Early Decision are a broader group; there are some who were waiting, hoping for better stats by the time they applied, so the average in that group is lower.  The admissions directors I have talked to have come from schools with fairly competitive admissions but not any of the highly, highly competitive schools--it could be different at those schools with more students with strong stats waiting to apply to shop around which school gives the best offer.  

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12 hours ago, regentrude said:
12 hours ago, Harpymom said:

 

Not correct. You can withdraw from the ED agreement for financial reasons. It is not binding if you cannot afford to go.

Yes, the only reason withdrawing is allowed.  The 100% meets-demonstrated-need schools say they offer the same during ED as they would in RD, which makes the giant admissions boost more equitable in theory.

 

Edited by Harpymom
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On 9/13/2021 at 2:38 AM, Harpymom said:

Yes, the only reason withdrawing is allowed.  The 100% meets-demonstrated-need schools say they offer the same during ED as they would in RD, which makes the giant admissions boost more equitable in theory.

 

just for understanding....what happens if you don't? What happens if you don't withdraw your application from other institutions if you get admitted someplace ED? What happens if you don't attend? 

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3 hours ago, AEC said:

just for understanding....what happens if you don't? What happens if you don't withdraw your application from other institutions if you get admitted someplace ED? What happens if you don't attend? 

https://www.collegeraptor.com/getting-in/articles/questions-answers/happens-back-early-decision/

https://www.unigo.com/admissions-advice/is-early-decision-really-binding-or-can-i-still-get-out-of-it

Edited by bibiche
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yeah....that aligns with most discussion I've seen on the topic, which mostly seems like bunk. 'legally binding'...really? If it is, then a contract you sign would specify exactly what happens if you break it, not just that you're not supposed ta. "We'll tell your school counselor and you'll get in trouble?" ok. I'm the school counselor, so....<shrug>

It sounds like the schools colluding and a non-ED school then deciding to stop processing your application even though you didn't withdraw it is the only actually real consequence. And that might happen. Or maybe the threat of that happening is the only real deterrent. By the end of application season, older DS was getting offers in the mail that read roughly as 'blink once for yes you'll come to our uni, and twice for maybe you'll come to our uni", and then post-starting college gets letters in the mail that read like "disappointed in the place you picked? Not too late to come <here> starting now".

 

To be clear...we've setup an on site for NWern, and assuming he's still excited for their program 4-6 weeks from now he'll probably apply ED and would do so expecting to attend if admitted. But the empty threat of 'you must' seems sketchy to me.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, AEC said:

yeah....that aligns with most discussion I've seen on the topic, which mostly seems like bunk. 'legally binding'...really? If it is, then a contract you sign would specify exactly what happens if you break it, not just that you're not supposed ta. "We'll tell your school counselor and you'll get in trouble?" ok. I'm the school counselor, so....<shrug>

It sounds like the schools colluding and a non-ED school then deciding to stop processing your application even though you didn't withdraw it is the only actually real consequence. And that might happen. Or maybe the threat of that happening is the only real deterrent. By the end of application season, older DS was getting offers in the mail that read roughly as 'blink once for yes you'll come to our uni, and twice for maybe you'll come to our uni", and then post-starting college gets letters in the mail that read like "disappointed in the place you picked? Not too late to come <here> starting now".

 

To be clear...we've setup an on site for NWern, and assuming he's still excited for their program 4-6 weeks from now he'll probably apply ED and would do so expecting to attend if admitted. But the empty threat of 'you must' seems sketchy to me.

 

 

 

Sure, they’re not going to hunt you down and sue you for lost tuition, but in addition to being unethical it is foolhardy to play around with ED. Many top schools (and I assume other schools as well) share lists with peer schools and if you’ve applied ED and reneged at one school, it’s very possible that the school you want to go to will be notified and then deny or retract admittance. And who can blame them? I wouldn’t want an unethical student going to my school either!

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@AECWonderful insight in the replies you have received. Based on the information you provided, and the replies, I suggest that if your DS is interested in Northwestern after he visits the school, that he does apply there "ED"

Also, if Stanford  offers "EA" (Early Acceptance or Early Admission) in addition to "ED" I suggest that he apply "EA" at Stanford.  

Good luck to him!

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On 9/12/2021 at 10:39 PM, madteaparty said:

Is there data on this? 

It is definitely repeated by many admissions officials. 

ED deadlines are typically Nov 1 - Dec 1. The student not only needs to have strong test scores and grades in hand, but they have to be motivated and organized enough to have decided where to apply, complete the application (with required essays) and have coordinated their letters of recommendation. That does often correlate to students who have strong records.

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2 hours ago, Lanny said:

@AECWonderful insight in the replies you have received. Based on the information you provided, and the replies, I suggest that if your DS is interested in Northwestern after he visits the school, that he does apply there "ED"

Also, if Stanford  offers "EA" (Early Acceptance or Early Admission) in addition to "ED" I suggest that he apply "EA" at Stanford.  

Good luck to him!

Stanford has Restrictive Early Action, which is not compatible with simultaneously applying ED to another college. 

https://admission.stanford.edu/apply/decision_process/index.html

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20 hours ago, AEC said:

just for understanding....what happens if you don't? What happens if you don't withdraw your application from other institutions if you get admitted someplace ED? What happens if you don't attend? 

The main consequence would be that the ED college could withdraw their offer of admission. 

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@AECYour forum posts say California and Wisconsin. IMO it will be a "plus" for your DS if he is in the group of applicants from Wisconsin (a much smaller group) than if he is in the group of applicants from California, which will be much larger.

It will (probably) depend upon the location of the High School he graduates from and not on his  mailing address...

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6 hours ago, Sebastian (a lady) said:

It is definitely repeated by many admissions officials. 

ED deadlines are typically Nov 1 - Dec 1. The student not only needs to have strong test scores and grades in hand, but they have to be motivated and organized enough to have decided where to apply, complete the application (with required essays) and have coordinated their letters of recommendation. That does often correlate to students who have strong records.

It’s just that selective schools are not suffering for kids that have it together in that manner, that’s all. 

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14 hours ago, madteaparty said:

It’s just that selective schools are not suffering for kids that have it together in that manner, that’s all. 

No, a highly selective school like Northwestern turns down many well qualified students. 

ED is attractive to a college because they are assured those students will yield if accepted. 

Yes, a student can back out of the financial aid offer doesn't work. But that is walking away from admission to a school that is their top choice. Most want the students to deposit in a few weeks. They  don't let the student come back around after other offers come in and say they do really want to attend. 

ED can be useful if you know you have high EFC and can afford to pay with little aid or if you have a low EFC and the school commits to meeting demonstrated need.

It's not a great option if you want to compare offers from multiple colleges. 

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11 hours ago, Sebastian (a lady) said:

No, a highly selective school like Northwestern turns down many well qualified students. 

But why would anybody bother with an ED for a school that isn’t highly selective? I do wonder though if for highly selective schools like Northwestern, the ED versus regular admissions rates are really dramatically different once you back out your sports, donor, and other celebrity children. 

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My niece is about to apply ED to a non-selective school (admitting 80% of applicants), where she would be full-pay, because she has received poor grades and mediocre test scores.  

My sister wants her to know early if she needs to really try to raise her grades to improve her GPA, or really try to raise her SAT/ACT score.  

On the other hand, if she can get in ED, they are DONE, and do not have to worry about it anymore!  

 I don't know if my niece will even get her act together to apply ED or not.  

Right now it's the kind of thing where she would refuse to attend community college or the local state college, so it would be better if she could be admitted, or have a wake up call to improve her application!

It is so not my thing, I am telling my kids "it's fine with me if you start at community college, especially if you don't get good grades in high school."  That is not my sister's choice, though, or at least she thinks my niece will stick to this "my way or the highway" attitude.  

Different kids, different families, in a huge way!  Not at all how we would be handling things.  

My little kids got their first covid vaccine at the local CC and I took classes there one summer -- I talked it up to them as a good option 🙂 And have talked it up to my older son, as well.  

It is the kind of thing where some people mock going there, but my husband and I are going to push back against that attitude so hard, lol.  

Edit:  it's at the point where raising her grades this semester could raise her GPA, or on the other hand, all they care is that she graduates from high school, and she can have a fresh start in college.  She struggled her freshman year and then got into "I have already ruined everything" mode -- it is harder for her to find motivation.  Anyway -- hopefully college is a fresh start for her, and she cares a lot more about it than she has cared about high school to date.  

But personally my kids are not going to get a message that they get to go where they want regardless of their high school performance.  My niece has already -- well, she has a lot of wants, but she has also "downgraded" to a school where she has got a good chance at admittance.  

Anyway -- this is the reason she is applying ED.  It's chancy she gets in at her first choice, even though it has a high admission level, and so far she shows no motivation to study for SAT/ACT or get decent grades.  She takes after my sister (not her mom) who also had a lot of motivation issues in high school but flourished in college, so we all hope for that to happen.  

Edited by Lecka
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16 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

But why would anybody bother with an ED for a school that isn’t highly selective? I do wonder though if for highly selective schools like Northwestern, the ED versus regular admissions rates are really dramatically different once you back out your sports, donor, and other celebrity children. 

If it's truly your first choice and you know that it is affordable either full pay or with automatic aid, one and done is really nice. I know a decent number of kids who apply early to rolling admissions schools and if they apply to any others, it's because Mom and Dad are insisting. 

 

My kid didn't apply to any schools ED, but did all common app schools before the ED deadline,and three of the schools that had ED deadlines and were theoretically ED/RD schools did send acceptances on the ED acceptance date,so in some cases, even schools that don't have a "non-binding EA" vs ED on paper seem to. 

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