As colleges have become more selective in recent decades, fewer and fewer students are getting admitted although the number of applicants has increased. The overall trend for UC schools, based on Mercury News, is that the colleges are accepting less students in proportion to the number of applicants. Therefore, in order to have a greater prospect of getting admitted to colleges, many high school students are applying for early admission.
With early admission, there are three different forms: early decision, early action, and restricted early action. Early decision is when the students must enroll into the school if they are confirmed. On the other hand, if students apply as early action, then they don’t necessarily have to commit to the school. Finally, restricted early action is when the students are “restricted” to apply to only one early school but then they don’t have to attend even if they get admitted. Schools like Harvard and Stanford practices restricted early action while the University of Chicago is an early action school.
Often, students can benefit by applying to colleges through the early admission process. According to one of Duke University’s admission officers, “there is a 25% chance of getting admitted to Duke by applying early, which is one out of four students who are applying, in comparison to regular admission that is far below ten percent.” Duke University is binding or an early decision school and therefore, if students get into the school, they must be dedicated to the school.
However, applying early isn’t always a better choice. For example, Georgetown University is an early action school; however, their acceptance rate for early action was less than regular decision: 12% for early action while 15.4% for regular admission (Top Tier Admission). Therefore, students should be careful when they apply early to universities as it doesn’t guarantee higher chances of getting admitted.
Although usually early applications provide greater opportunities of getting into that particular college, students’ academic grades and extracurricular activities are important factors in their acceptance. According to Education Week, school grades, standardized tests, essays, and recommendations along with other activities tend to be rated most significant when the admissioners look at students’ applications. Applying early along wouldn’t define the student’s likelihood of getting into colleges. Maintaining grades and participating in school activities as they apply for early would definitely increase the chance of the students getting admitted.
Finally, not all schools have an early admission process. The public schools tend to not have early admissions while private schools usually have early admissions. All UC schools, like Berkeley, LA, and Irvine, doesn’t accept early applications, but rather have only one deadline to be admitted.
With both having risks and advantages, should students apply early in general? Overall, early application can act as a huge benefactor to a student’s chances of getting admitted and therefore, it is recommended to apply early if the student wishes to attend a particular school. However, applying early should be discouraged when the student can have a better possibility of becoming accepted through regular decision.
Seunghyeon Shim, Grade 12
West Ranch High School