Early decisions aren’t getting any easier – what should you do?
By Tina Wu | Senior Admissions Counselor, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
As seniors anxiously await notification emails from their Early Decision (ED) schools this week, we are bracing for a surprisingly hard year for admissions to competitive schools. Across the board, elite colleges are reporting unprecedented surges in ED applications: Cornell received 9000+ applications this year (as compared to ~6600 applications last year); Duke received 5000+ applications (as compared to ~4200 applications last year).
With top colleges adopting test-optional policies this year, students are more ambitious with their ED choice, resulting in an overall increase in applications to top schools in the US.
If you’re reading this article with an acceptance letter from your ED school, give yourself a pat on the back! For the rest of you, I hope my advice is useful as you continue your college admission journey:
What to do if you’re deferred?
Getting deferred might be frustrating, but on the bright side, admissions officers are not saying “no“ to you! They would like to evaluate you against other applicants from the regular decision round.
Normally, colleges allow you to send additional information to strengthen your application (please check with your college to see what they would accept). This may include your latest grades, test scores, an update on your activities, or even a letter of continued interest. There are a lot of ways to demonstrate how you have improved over your senior year, and why this specific college is a great fit for you.
If you need help evaluating your profile, reach out to your school counselor or us for further advice.
What to do if you’re rejected from your ED I school?
Don’t get discouraged if you’re rejected from your ED 1 school! There is still room to evaluate your school list and application:
Review your school list to see if it’s If you’re rejected from your ED 1 school, does it make sense to apply to other equally competitive schools under Regular Decision? Do you have enough target and safety schools on the list?
Re-strategize and see if there’s a need to add an ED 2 school. Is this ED2 school a good fit for you? Remember, ED2 is still a binding commitment!
Go back to your common app application – are there room for improvement?
Our advice to juniors (Grade 11/ Year 12 students)
If there’s one thing we learn from this application cycle so far, admissions to elite colleges are only getting harder! COVID-19 might have disrupted many plans, but top students all over the world are demonstrating strong commitments to their academics, passion, and community.
With less than one more year to go until your applications are due, are you ready?
Ms. Tina Wu
Senior Admissions Counselor
Member of IECA & NACAC
M.B.A., Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
BSc. In Accounting and Finance, New York University – Stern School of Business
- A passionate mentor to students
- Emphasis on understanding and developing her students’ strengths, positioning their potential to admissions office in the best possible light
- Over 10 years of experience in helping students gain admissions to top boarding schools and colleges in the U.S.
- Matriculation includes: Cornell University, University of Michigan, NYU, University of Virginia, UCLA and UC Berkeley
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