We have gotten hundreds—approaching thousands—of emails and calls in the past week. Early decision has come out and people don’t understand why they were deferred or rejected. Our students did phenomenally well, but it seems, as we predicted, that more people than ever are getting turned away. This makes sense. School’s haven’t increased the number of kids they accept while applicant pools have expanded exponentially. It’s incredibly hard to get in. And people don’t like that.
Getting rejected from an early decision school can be gut-wrenching…for parents. Your kid has worked so hard, missed out on social activities in the name of extra-curricular ones, visited scores of colleges, and finally aligned their hopes on that perfect school only to be told that, well, this year isn’t their year, after all. Rejection is bad enough. What makes this time of year worse for kids who get the dreaded thin envelope is parents who are shaken, as well, and not doing a great job of hiding it.
Getting that letter can be really tough. You worked your butt off this year. You spent countless hours studying for standardized tests. You came early to school and stayed late for sports practices and club meetings. You spent time and money visiting colleges with the hopes that they would see in your essays what you, yourself, know you are capable of and yet, it didn’t work out. We know. We’ve been there, too.
Getting rejected from your Early Decision school can be heartbreaking. You’re 17 or 18 years-old. This is probably the first big rejection of your life and even if it’s not, it’s the first time you’ve been rejected by something so recognizable in society. Losing your student government race can be crushing, too, but getting rejected from a place you’ve heard of since you were a little kid can be rougher and you know what? It’s okay to be heartbroken.
We get a lot of questions about applying early vs. regular decision and the merits of applying to schools for each round. One point that we always drive home is that applying somewhere early is not a small decision, and it should be intentional. This is not the time to throw all caution to the wind and apply to your dream school despite the fact that your test scores are well below their average and you sat around by the beach this past summer with nothing to show for it. That’s just silly, and that’s not how we operate. You need to know the why behind applying somewhere early, and you should have the profile as well as demonstrated interest to back it up. Sometimes applying early can help your chances of getting in and sometimes it can hurt them. Read on to find out the why and how.
Every year we work with students who come to us immediately after they’ve been deferred early decision and assume that it is effectively a rejection. This is a myth that needs to be debunked. A deferral is only a rejection if you treat it that way.
Many students apply early decision to a school because “they want to be done” with the college admissions process or they believe it will increase their chances of getting in. Despite the higher admit rates afforded by early decision, the majority of seniors will still be rejected or deferred. It’s important to remember that a deferral is not a rejection. If the school really didn’t want you, they would have simply rejected you. The majority of seniors who apply early will not get in; for example, 6173 students applied for the Harvard class of 2020. Only 918 students were admitted, while 4,673 were deferred or rejected.
People frequently ask about the benefits of applying early decision. Our answer is that apply early decision not only provides peace of mind, but, if you’re qualified, can dramatically increase your chance of acceptance.
We know it feels great to finally have submitted the bulk of your applications, but just in case you don’t get accepted to wherever you applied early, we suggest starting your regular decision applications. We recommend starting the next round of applications sooner rather than later because although applying early will help you in the process, a lot of students will end up getting deferred. This means they must apply elsewhere in case they are eventually rejected during regular decision.
CONGRATULATIONS! We are so proud of you! You’ve worked hard and have made sure that everything was ready to submit. We know you’re stressed and probably nervous about hearing back from where you’ve applied, but just relax and listen to what we have to say.
DO: Consider all of your options. It’s common to overlook schools when considering where to apply ED because you feel the pressure of only being able to choose one school. When you’re considering applying ED, be sure to actually imagine yourself at the school because your potential admission is binding.
Early decision school applications are due in the beginning in November on either November 1st or November 15th. Early decision has increased in popularity over the past few years as many people believe that there is a significant advantage to applying early. While there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to applying ED, we always want to make sure our students know about the different testing deadlines. Can they take a November SAT and have it count? Do they have to send the scores directly?
When you apply to a school Early Decision you are making an unbreakable commitment. You’re telling the school, “you’re my first choice and if I get in I promise to attend.” There’s basically no caveats, exemptions, or options. If you apply to a school Early Decision and you get in, you’re going. If this sounds a little scary, that’s because it should be. Choosing to apply early is a big decision with ramifications for you long beyond the college process. It’s vital to thoroughly weigh the pros and cons. Early decision isn’t for everyone, and often times when students apply ED for the wrong reasons the college process can become even more stressful.
Early Decision (ED), Early Decision II (ED II), Early Action (EA), Restrictive Early Action (REA). All of these are ways students can apply to a school before Regular Decision. But, it is easy to get lost in a sea of abbreviations, overlapping deadlines, and indecipherable admission statistics. So we’re going to go through and outline the differences between these programs, what they mean, and the various deadlines.