5 Tips to Consider for Your Early Admissions Strategy
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Vinay Bhaskara in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- Consider a Strategy Using Early Decision II
- Research the Benefits of Early Admissions
- Show Dedicated Interest
- Maximize Merit Scholarships
- Legacy Applications
If you plan to take advantage of early admissions at your schools of choice, these early admissions strategy tips may be useful as you move forward in the process.
For more information about early admissions, check out this post about the differences between Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) or this post about some of the frequently asked questions about early admissions.
Consider a Strategy Using Early Decision II
Some schools offer two Early Decision (ED) rounds, typically known as ED I and ED II. These two rounds offer a similarly sized admissions benefit, so if you apply ED I to your top choice school and unfortunately are not admitted, consider applying ED II to your second-choice school. You can also read this article on CollegeVine about whether you should apply Early Decision II.
Research the Benefits of Early Admissions
If you are thinking about applying early to a school, make sure you are aware of the benefits of applying early. Early admissions statistics can be misleading, so you want to do your research before making this choice.
For example, if Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is your top-choice college, consider applying during the regular admissions round. There is no tangible benefit to applying Early Admissions versus Regular Decision at MIT specifically, so take the opportunity to apply EA or even ED to another college you’re really excited about.
Show Dedicated Interest
If you’re interested in a competitive program at a public university, or a dual degree program at a public or or private university, it can be helpful to apply early for these programs. One of the things that colleges really consider in their applications is dedicated interest. Competitive programs in particular want to see applicants who are engaged and very likely to enroll if accepted.
Other ways to show demonstrated interest include registering for the college’s mailing list, visiting the school or attending virtual events, and participating in an alumni interview.
Maximize Merit Scholarships
If you want to maximize your merit scholarship award, you should apply to schools that offer Early Action. Schools like to use early applications and merit scholarships to drive yield, so you should definitely take advantage of those admissions benefits.
Applying Early Decision, however, can have the opposite effect. Because ED is binding, some colleges won’t have the same incentive to grant merit scholarships to as many ED candidates.
Finally, if you are a legacy student, consider applying to that college Regular Decision. This may seem counterintuitive, but your legacy status will give you a big boost in terms of likelihood of acceptance, even during the regular round. If you apply RD to your legacy school, you can take the opportunity to apply Early Decision or Early Action to another school you’re more excited about, if you have schools that you would prefer over your legacy school. This is a powerful strategy if you have a couple of schools you’d really love to attend.
Under Early Action, some schools are more likely to defer admission rather than deny. More selective schools tend to defer because they want to make sure they don’t lose out on strong applicants in the regular decision pool. So if you apply RD at your legacy school and EA at another top choice, you may be admitted to both and be able to choose what’s best for you.