Early Action/Early Decision Admission Rates Drop at All Ivies

More and more students are busting to apply to college prior to the regular decision (RD) application deadline through Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) programs.  But is all that stress worth it?

The University of Pennsylvania admitted only 1,279 students to its Class of 2023, their lowest Early Decision acceptance rate to date.

Good question. This year, all Ivies reported record numbers of Early Action and Early Decision applications for the class of 2023. But every Ivy League school also reported early admission rate declines compared to the previous year. Brown, for example, reported a significant 3.1% drop in early admission acceptance rates this year, Dartmouth’s early admission acceptance rate dropped 1.69%, Cornell’s early acceptance rate fell 1.66%, University of Pennsylvania’s early admission rate decreased by .55%, Princeton’s early admission rate dropped from 14.79% to 13.9%, Yale’s early admission rate decreased by 1.14%, and Harvard’s early admission rate dropped from 14.54% to 13.4%.  (Columbia University will not report their data until spring.) Significantly, a large percentage of those students admitted through Early Action and Early Decision programs—23% in the case of U Penn –are legacy students, in other words, those whose parent or grandparent attended U Penn.
Making the decision: Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision

For many students, regardless of whether or not you’re a legacy applicant, applying through an Early Action program or Early Decision program makes sense. Many students just want to get the whole agonizing application process over and done with. And there’s a lot to be said for that. Applying to college in America is an endurance sport and as such requires unexpected reserves of time, commitment, and diligence. The sooner a student applies, the sooner that student can return full attention to school work.

But there are many compelling reasons and important practical advantages that come with applying through Regular Decision programs. For example, when students apply through Regular Decision programs, they have more time to perfect the two most important parts of the application: the main essay and the supplemental essays. Many students also know that their admission chances will be improved by senior year extracurriculars or improved academic performance, and for these students, it’s far better to wait to apply until January. Finally, when students apply through a Regular Decision program, they can space their work out over time which for many students and families is a tremendous help in getting through the stress of senior year.

Which is for you? It really is up to the applicant and her/his family to make the decision. But if you chose to apply through an Early Action or Early Decision program only because you think it will up your admissions chances, you may want to reconsider. Although small, this year’s Early Action and Early Decision admission rates are significant.

Need help deciding whether to apply to college through an Early Decision, Early Application, or Regular Decision program? Call me. I’m always ready to help you!

Dr. Osborn works with students from all over the world to help them reach their independent, college, and graduate school goals. Through a personal, one-on-one approach, Dr. Osborn creates an individualized plan for each student based on the student’s strengths, passions, and career aspirations. Her holistic approach helps students perform well in school and secure admission to top colleges.  

About The Author

Susan Osborn, Ph.D., has spent 30 years in higher education, in admissions at Vassar College, in the English department and Writing Program at Rutgers University, in the lab at The New Jersey Center for Research on Writing, and as a private tutor. Dr. Osborn is also an award-winning writer and scholar and she brings both her education smarts and her writing smarts to every student relationship.