Question regarding Princeton admission and general ED and EA

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Question regarding Princeton admission and general ED and EA
By Thereishope (Thereishope) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 06:02 pm: Edit

Is it true that Princeton is increasing its class size and reaching out to the lesser known high schools and admission people from schools that's never sent anyone to Princeton before?

In addition, is it also true that ED is a lot easier to get into than EA and RD? I have also heard rumors that for Harvard EA, if someone is deferred, then the chance of them being looked at closely again or admitted is next to zero since they almost defer everyone. However, is it true that in the case of Yale, if someone is deferred, then they will be looked at closely again in the RD pool with speical attention paid because Yale outright rejects the weak EA applicatns?

By Mini (Mini) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 06:35 pm: Edit

The answer to virtually everyone of your questions is "unknown". No one knows who Princeton will be accepting as a result of increased class size. No one knows if folks accepted ED would have been accepted RD anyway. Take away legacies, recruited athletes, sons and daughters of senators and governors, and very rich folks giving large amounts of money to Harvard and Yale, and the remaining odds are like 20 to 1. No one knows what happens with Yale EAs 'cause they've only done it once.

In short, a total crapshoot. Don't lose sleep over it. Chances are you'll be rejected. Chances are you can get just as good an education at several dozen other places, maybe better. And if you were good enough to get into HYP to begin with, chances are your odds for med school, law school, business school, etc. are just as good if you go to Podunk.

Maybe better. You'll be first in your class.

By Achat (Achat) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 07:17 pm: Edit

Princeton is increasing its class size by 500 in 2006, I think. Not next year.

By Mehere (Mehere) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 11:48 pm: Edit

I heard that princeton is reaching out to the schools that have never sent anyone to princeton before. I saw it on this board, but i am not 100% sure.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:17 am: Edit

Thereishope, the chances of being admitted ED are definitely higher than RD, though the pool is undoubtedly stronger.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if Princeton went EA very soon. We'll see.
Hargadon was definitely looking for great small-town kids, students from high schools that have never sent anyone to Princeton. The new admissions dean, Janet Rapelye, has stated publicly pretty often that they are looking to attract more students in the arts.
Princeton's president has been quoted as saying they would like more students with green hair, i.e., quirky. If you come from a hs where no one has ever gone to Princeton, I would certainly not consider that a disadvantage. Although there are a number of elite schools that appear to be feeders into Princeton, there are also many, many students from ordinary hs around the U.S.
As for class size, I believe Princeton will be increasing it by 500 gradually within a few years. Don't think it has much or any influence on the size of next year's class, but that's a question to ask at an info session.

When we visited Yale several years ago, the adcom told us that if you applied ED and were deferred, they would tag your application and look on it more favorably during the RD round. However, with EA I have no idea how it works.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:30 am: Edit

Apparently Princeton's ED rate actually went up last year (2008) compared to 07. It, along with Columbia and Penn, is one of the top schools well-known for heavy reliance on ED to boost yield (filling about 1/2 the class via ED). I'm sure they claim that the ED pool is much stronger, but you would expect that to be true across the board at the ivies, and most other ivy ED rates aren't as high. You can check 2008 numbers on

If I knew someone who wanted to go to Princeton, I would definitely advise considering applying ED.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:48 am: Edit

I find it hard to believe that the ED pool was so much stronger that it produced half the entering class-- 581 students-- while the much larger RD pool yielded the other half. 33% of the ED pool was admitted, vs. only 6% of the RD pool.Even if that were true, a much larger RD pool would include a larger number of equally qualified applicants.

The focus on yield via ED has serious implications of the composition of the student body.

As Tighman has admitted, the strongest criticism of ED is the financial one.

>> Many critics of the early decision program point to an ethical dilemma inherent in the process, as students who apply early are more likely to come from affluent families and private schools.

Tilghman said she is aware of the concern and believes it to be the "most serious criticism of early decision.">>

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:52 am: Edit

My main concern about ED has always been the financial issue, so I completely agree with Tilghman. I would like to see the elite schools voluntarily agree to limit the portion of the class they take ED, to something like no more than 20% (ok, maybe 25%).

By Idler (Idler) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:31 am: Edit

Does anyone think that Princeton's reliance on ED to boost their yield when peer institutions have switched to EA suggests a certain insecurity about their ability to compete for top applicants?

Also, though I agree with everyone's comments about the financial aid side of ED being its worst aspect, I also think it causes many students to commit too early in the process. My observation, having been through this twice, is that students' thinking about college evolves during the application process, a benefit denied to succesful ED applicants. I know yuo're only supposed to apply ED if you know exactly where you want to go, but I can't help feeling that many 17 year olds only think they know this; that it's more common at this time of year to hear something along the lines of 'I've got to hurry up and pick where to apply early, or I'll lose my advantage.'

By Coureur (Coureur) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:46 am: Edit

>>Princeton is increasing its class size by 500 in 2006, I think. Not next year.<<

When we took the Princeton tour last summer they told us that they were increasing the class size by 100 every year to get a total increae of 400 or 500 by 2006. The process was already underway, not a big one year jump.

By Achat (Achat) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:47 am: Edit

Thanks, Coureur!

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 11:31 am: Edit

The ED pool is "stronger" in the following way: this is the time when they take many recruited athletes and other special cases. So...the percentages may look high, but if a student is looking to be admitted on academics alone, she or he had better be a "1." Contrary to what some students hope, ED doesn't let an inferior applicant squeak by.

Re financial aid, it is true that students can't compare offers from other schools if they apply ED. However, Princeton calculates aid the same way for ED applicants as it does for RD ones, and there is plenty of opportunity to review and discuss with them. Given the fact that Princeton is known for its generosity and that it gives grants, not loans, I don't think a prospective financial-aid student is taking a big risk in applying ED there.

Re why Princeton stays ED, up until last year, admissions decisions were made by one man, Fred Hargadon, and so it's no wonder he was eager to fill half the class early. I believe that with the new dean this is going to change. However, if you look at the Prince articles I posted above, the change will require considerable logistical juggling. If you have had a student apply to Princeton, you know that it is quite a personal, individual process. Several essays are required, and students are invited to submit extra recommendations, supplementary materials, even a letter from Mom or Dad or a favorite coach or community leader. There is even a form to tell the adcom anything you didn't have a chance to tell them elsewhere. If you have a question, you can correspond directly with an adcom person. Up until now, they have had on-campus interviews for small groups of students with members of the adcom. Compared to the applications to H and Y, my kids felt the process provided them with more opportunity to reveal themselves fully. At Y my d was basically told "the less paper you send in, the better." In our experience the process at Princeton much more closely resembled the personal process at Smith. So...should Princeton go EA, they will clearly need to change their approach (which they have begun to do, eliminating the on-campus interviews, going Common App,and hiring 2 new adcom people) in order to handle what is likely to be a deluge of applicants.

The new admissions dean has certainly stated publicly on several occasions that big changes are coming in Princeton admissions. Note this quote from Tilghman in the article Marite posted: "Tilghman has repeatedly claimed there is a stark difference the quality of the two applicant pools. The early candidates for the class of 2008, she said, may be the strongest the University has ever seen.

"She characterized the 25 percent decline in early applicants as inevitable, citing the change in admission policies at Harvard and Yale Universities to non-binding early action as the principal cause. Tilghman did not deny that the University's administration is considering following suit.

"'I told Dean Rapelye it would be foolish of her to change admission policy in her first year. But after she has had a chance to acclimate, the administration will begin to explore its options,' Tilghman said."

By Mehere (Mehere) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 11:55 am: Edit

I have always thought that the ED applicants are weaker than the RD applicants for the following reasons. First of all, the strong applicants would not want to commit them to one school. They have confidence that they will get in either way RD or ED, so they will most likely apply EA somewhere and then apply RD to Princeton. In addition, it is said that a lot of ED applicants do not really know where they want to go, but just want an option to increase their chance; and by applying ED to Princeton, they are hoping that this will increase their chances. However, I've also read that once an applicant is deferred from ED, the chances of being admitted from RD is next to zero, because if they can't make the first easier cut, how can they make the second harder one?

I have a general question regarding Princeton. From those articles, it is said that they want more BSE applicants. Does it mean i have to apply to the engineering school? However, what if i want to study Physics, would that be considered BSE or should i go to the college? I just got a bit confused about the schools of princeton and how that affects your major. Can you also transfer within a school?

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:03 pm: Edit

Aparent4 -- I don't think the research supports your contention that the ED applicants are stronger. Didn't the Atlantic Monthly article cite a study showing that applying ED effectively adds 100 pts to your SAT score?

I don't necessarily think unqualified applicants get in ED (or RD), but I think Princeton takes into account the fact that if they accept you ED, you WILL come, thus helping their yield.

And they don't need to go EA to change the process -- they could simply choose to lower their ED admissions rate (which, although we think of princeton as one of the most selective ivies, is among the highest in the ivies, if not the actual highest) and fill less of their class ED.

By Mini (Mini) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:09 pm: Edit

ED applicants may have SAT scores that are higher, but the logical explanation is that this due, wholly or in part, to the fact that, virtually by definition, they come from higher income families. The relationship between SAT scores and family income are well-documented, and if you are worried about the level of financial aid, you are less likely to apply ED. For those with lower SAT scores, ED is a way for well-to-do applicants to get another leg up on their lower-income competitors.

Accepting large numbers of well-heeled ED applicants is one of the reasons why Princeton's percentage of Pell Grant recipients is among the lowest in the nation.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:40 pm: Edit


The percentage of stronger students may be greater in the ED than in the RD pool (see Mini's post), but it is hard to believe that out of the 12,530 students who applied RD, only 580 were deemed to be as strong as the other 580 students who were chosen ED from a pool of 1160 students. By committing itself to half of the ED pool, Princeton denied itself the chance to choose more, different, and possibly stronger students from the RD pool.

By Idler (Idler) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit

Marite, I agree. Now why would they do that?

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:17 pm: Edit


If you have money apply ED to princeton as you have much better chance. If you need fin aid then I can not say as you may get in in harvad EA and maybe not. Depends how much gamble do you want to do?

By Blossom (Blossom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:24 pm: Edit

I don't think the issue is "stronger" or "weaker". I think the small, self-selective pool of ED gives Princeton a chance to pick the cellist, the Olympic-caliber gymnast, and the Physics Olympiad winner (or the composer whose concerto will be played at a music festival in Europe next year... etc.) Then, once the "hit list" has been taken care of in ED, they can evaluate the RD pool which is significantly bigger, and pluck selectively. Given that ED is binding, they know these unusual kids, aren't going to Stanford or Harvard, so they don't need to worry about counting noses in the RD pool of cellists and gymnasts since those bases are covered.

I don't know if the paper stats of the cellist et al can compare with the paper stats of the RD kids, but ED allows the university to make sure early on that it doesn't end up with a class which is 50% from Greenwich or Lake Forest, all of whom play tennis and volunteer at a hospice. Those kids may have 1590's.... but lots of those 12,000 plus applicants all look the same. I don't think Princeton is worried about "more, different, and possibly stronger students from the RD pool"-- they get to cherry-pick in both rounds.

By Mini (Mini) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:28 pm: Edit

"Marite, I agree. Now why would they do that?"

Holds down the amount of financial aid they need to pay out in their supposedly "need-blind" admissions, and makes admissions of full-paying customers predictable. Gives them an excuse to reject large numbers of qualified low-income students from unknown schools to whom they have no particular commitment anyway. Secures large numbers of legacies and potential large donors, regardless of the kids' SAT scores. Guarantees them a tight end on the football team, or the needed English horn player. If they choose, guards against admitting two many Jews, too many Asians, or too many (they can fill in the blank as they choose....) Gets them a class of folks who, in theory, really want to attend, rather than those rebounding from rejections elsewhere. Takes pressure off them from their feeder schools (if they've already filled the quota from St. Paul's ED, the counselor at St. Paul's is hardly in a position to complain if they reject the rest of them.) Above all, it gives them an excuse not to change unless they want to.

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:30 pm: Edit

"but it is hard to believe that out of the 12,530 students who applied RD, only 580 were deemed to be as strong as the other 580 students who were chosen ED from a pool of 1160 students"

something's not right, there. This suggests that Princeton took half of the students who applied ED.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:32 pm: Edit

I can see that my post was unclear. *If* you are a top student, your chances of getting into Princeton ED are far greater than they are RD. Recruited athletes, development cases, etc., skew the ED pool, and so those who get in for academic reasons are very strong. I've read The Early Admissions Game, but averages don't always tell the whole story; the (admittedly limited number of) students I know who were admitted ED were either recruited athletes on the one hand or were academically strong applicants with perfect or near-perfect SATs, the latter group needing no 100-point advantage.

I do know quite a few students who have been admitted to various Ivies RD after being deferred ED.

Marite, re "it is hard to believe that out of the 12,530 students who applied RD, only 580 were deemed to be as strong as the other 580 students who were chosen ED." Of course that's hard to believe! Clearly it's not true. As I said above, with one man making the admissions decisions, it doesn't surprise me that they chose to stay with ED for so long. When I sat in an info session and heard that the adcom was faced with 1100-plus apps in the RD round, it was clear to me that they could not possibly be putting the same time and thought into reviewing those apps.

Btw, H's and Y's change to SCEA happened the year P's new admissions dean arrived; I don't see P's sticking with ED as a sign of "insecurity," as a poster above suggested, but as a practical matter. As I said above, I am quite sure Princeton is planning a change to EA; they are eager to attract a more student body that is more economically diverse.

However, am I the only person on these boards who does not think single-choice EA is the holy grail? What's the advantage to the student?

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:32 pm: Edit


But how would Princeton know whether the cellist in ED will be as good as a cellist in the RD pool? Or is that not a consideration?

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:35 pm: Edit

The princeton article says 580/1816, which is about 1/3.

Blossom -- I don't disagree with your hit list point, but why does Princeton need to fill almost 1/2 its class ED while other schools keep it lower (I think Brown's portion is about 30%). Is half of Princeton's class made up of "niche" acceptees?

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:38 pm: Edit

Aparent -- what is the advantage to the student of SCEA? You're kidding, right?

The obvious primary advantage is that the student is NOT locked in, can apply to as many schools as s/he wants to RD, and can compare financial (need AND merit) aid offers. A secondary benefit is that the student has more time to make up his/her mind.

I absolutely think Princeton's heavy reliance on ED is a sign of insecurity, and it baffles me why a school with its reputation needs to rely on it so heavily. The ONLY reason to justify ED over single choice EA is the benefit to the school in increasing yield and locking kids in.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:48 pm: Edit

Yale moved to SCEA from ED, Harvard moved to SCEA from EA. Harvard's move was seen as restrictive, Yale's as welcoming more apps (which it received in spades).

Harvard's yield has remained the same (79% or so); Yale's yield has increased, from 66% to 70%, according to some data I have read. Princeton's yield, again, according to what I've read, is about 67%.

EA and SCEA make adcoms lives more difficult. But they do afford students a chance to compare offers and even to bargain, and also to have a few more months in which to think further about their choices. From the student's point of view, if not the school, EA and SCEA are more beneficial than ED.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:49 pm: Edit

Rhonda, I've told you a bit about Princeton's medieval admissions committee, which was run up until two years ago by one man with unbelievable power. I've noted that the switch to EA was unlikely to happen in the same year as the switch from that one man to another admissions dean who was faced with the task of creating a committee that would actually function as a committee. The dramatic political struggle I have been describing has been well documented in the media. I've told you that by all indications, Princeton is planning to switch to EA. There is a quote above from its president strongly suggesting that. You may choose to use the word "insecurity," but it is vague and impossible to document, and I'm not sure where you're getting it from.

And I stand by my statement that SCEA does not benefit the student. What it does is pull him or her away from other early options, without providing the boost that ED does. If the colleges want to get truly progressive, they will switch to universal RD with a slightly earlier deadline and universal common app.

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:51 pm: Edit

"However, am I the only person on these boards who does not think single-choice EA is the holy grail? What's the advantage to the student?"

I agree with Aparent, here.

ED has some major advantages that are being overlooked. One is that the vast majority of ED schools let you apply to EA schools. SCEA does not. Also, as the anti-ED camp does believe that ED confers advantage in admissions percentage, why give that up for the more slender advantage that SCEA gives? We all read the carnage on the boards here concerning Yale admissions; you basically had to walk on water to get in that way.

As most here know, my S did get into Columbia ED. He was more than well qualified, but he was willing to forego collecting admissions choices he knew he didn't need when he *knew* CU was the place for him. Someone suggested that a strong applicant would know they could count on getting in RD. No student should be so complacent that they can skip ED with any certainty that they'll be accepted RD to a school like that. And why not reward that sureness; shouldn't a school want to have students who feel that strongly about it?

In short, though I agree there are shortcomings to any plan, I definitely see the argument for ED as having advantages not shared by SCEA.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:30 pm: Edit


The carnage at Yale was due to the fact that the introduction of SCEA in lieu of ED lured many more applicants than would otherwise have been the case, just as Harvard's switching from EA to SCEA decreased the number of early applicants. This year was anomalous.

I don't doubt that if a student truly knows his or her mind by Nov. 1, then that student is entirely justified in committing early provided that his or her family agrees with the financial decision made by the college. But let's take a very highly qualified student who is still mulling choices all the way until Dec. 31, and decides to defer having to make a choice until April 1 when acceptances come in. Instead of being one among the 33% admits from the ED pool, that student will have to take his or her chances of being one among the 6% admits from the RD pool.

The 6% RD admission rate may lead to a strategy of going the ED route whether one really prefers Princeton or not. Princeton, btw, does not allow applications to be submitted to other colleges. The one redeeming feature I see is that one cannot possibly choose wrongly by going to Princeton. But the ED policy is pressuring students into making Princeton their absolute #1 choice when it may not be.

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:39 pm: Edit


"But the ED policy is pressuring students into making Princeton their absolute #1 choice when it may not be."

To keep with harvard, Princton need to do so. And if I have money this is the best school without jeopardising my kids chances.

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:45 pm: Edit

I had heard but forgotten that about Princeton. That's the only ED school I've ever heard of banning EA ( Columbia does not), and I definitely disagree.

I'm not so sure about the SCEA being an anomaly. The credentials of rejected students were outstanding; the kind that you expect to see admitted ED. Which of them are going to be the ones who would say, next year, I'm not applying SCEA? Why will the numbers be any lower?

In regards to your second point, if ED did not exist, they'd be taking their chances in the 10% everybody pool, not so different from the 6% RD now, so not much of an advantage over the present situation.

I still maintain that there are definite advantages of ED over SCEA, for the student as well as the school. The converse is also true.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:54 pm: Edit


But isn't that the insecurity argument that Rhonda is making? Why should a student not choose Princeton for its very considerable strengths?

Here is a scenario: a student is leaning toward P, but is not entirely sure. He may resent having to make up his mind by Nov. 1 and lock into P if he is admitted. But looking at the 6% RD admission rate, he gets scared.
If he had had SCEA, he would probably apply to P by Nov. 1. If by mid Dec, he received word that he was accepted, he could decide not to apply anywhere else and commit to P. If he was still undecided, he could apply to other colleges and have a few more months to mull over his choices. By April-May, he might decide that Princeton was his first choice after all. He would have spent a few hundred dollars on redundant applications, but got several more months to think through his choices.

This, btw, is a real possibility for my S. But I am not going to pressure him into applying ED to Princeton out of purely strategic reasons. If he, on his own, does not decide that P is his absolute first choice, he'll have to take the risk of being one among the 94% rejects from the RD pool.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:59 pm: Edit


Yale's pool of SCEA applicants was far larger than its previous pool of ED applicants. Harvard's pool, going from EA to SCEA, shrank a bit. Given that Yale was unwilling to increase the number of early admits despite the enlarged pool of early applicants, the result was a much lower percentage of early admits, hence the carnage.

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit


Once a wiseman told me that most people like to associate with two kind of people

1. Rich

2. Beautiful

Unfrotunately I am neither and like most anive people still think that this is the ticket to be free. hahahahah. Now HYPMS is a name where kids and their parent wants so associate including me. The big question to comple this picture is money and that is the part where we all have a different price range we wnat to pay for it. Thus, colleges will have upperhand and we will be applying Game Theory and other things but it may and may not work. Princton does cherry pick and I agree with you chances are in your favour if you apply ED and have money. But that is life.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:11 pm: Edit

Marite, I understand your concern about students' feeling forced to go ED. That was certainly an issue for my d, although any time we were grappling with it and I mentioned the various odds she was adamant that she would only apply early to the school she genuinely most wanted to attend. It seems to me that the problem is not so much ED itself, but the high percentage of the class admitted that way at Princeton, which makes RD there so daunting.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit

Chinaman, I wouldn't make quite so much of the money issue as it relates to ED, not for Princeton, anyway. I know quite a few students admitted ED who received generous financial aid packages. Some of them are students I know very, very well. ;-) Because Princeton's endowment per undergrad student is so high, the admin folks I meet take very seriously the opportunity and duty they have to make it possible for students to attend. And once students set foot on campus, there is more money for various student programs, for research, etc.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:18 pm: Edit


>It seems to me that the problem is not so much ED itself, but the high percentage of the class admitted that way at Princeton, which makes RD there so daunting.>

I agree. I'm not arguing against the abolition of ED, but of its reduction. I can see the advantages for the school of getting athletes to commit early. They, apparently, do choose early; in many cases, coaches have been following top athletes so the pool is not unknown. I'm less certain that the pool of incredibly talented musicians/artists/leaders has similarly been studied and is as well known to the adcoms.

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:23 pm: Edit


So you are telling me that if you need fin aid, and you can get in and love the princeton, princton will make you same offer if you applied RD. I will take your word for granted as I Have been told this for several people.

My kid is actually considering Princton seriously but money part just makes us jitters....

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:30 pm: Edit

Chinaman, your jitters are understandable. Here's what I would do if I were you. 1) If you have not done so, go to the Princeton Early Estimator The adcom folks say this is accurate within $100. That was our experience. 2) Once you do that, call the financial aid office, tell them what your results were, and say that it is crucial for you to get a better sense of things before your son applies ED. When we went to an info session they invited anyone in the audience to do this.

Good luck to your son.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:31 pm: Edit

Garland -- I don't think the edge given by ED is necessarily appropriate, at least not at the level it is currently at -- essentially, there should be less of a discrepancy between ED and RD rates. Princeton is considered so selective, but look at its ED rates, among the highest in the ivies.

And my D did apply and was accepted to Brown ED, so I'm not saying that ED is terrible and horrible and should be completely abolished. I think it is great for those students who don't have financial considerations (esp those who won't get need-based aid and need to consider merit aid offers, which generally come RD). I just think schools should not rely on it quite so heavily. You could still get enough of the advantages (to the students) but minimize the disadvantages. And if there wasn't such a discrepancy btwn RD and ED rates, students wouldn't feel so pressured to apply ED.

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:59 pm: Edit

As I said, I do see disadvantages of Ed. I was mostly agreeing that SCEA is not necessarily the perfect solution. What was wrong with EA? SC works distinctly against the students.

By Idler (Idler) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:02 pm: Edit

This might be an appropriate moment to recall Mini's comment some time ago, that if admissions are truly need blind, it's astonishing that the same amount of aid is given out every year.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:22 pm: Edit

Garland -- I think SCEA is a good middle ground that gives the school some of what ED gives them (some assurance that this is the kid's first choice, which you don't have with multiple EA apps, and that they will therefore matriculate if accepted), while eliminating the most significant disadvantages for the kids. Yes, the kids don't have the option of multiple EA, but I'm not sure I see the point of that -- why not just move the whole app process up to the fall of senior year, if all schools had multiple EA?

This is something I've thought about quite a bit, and I truly think the best solution would be for the elite schools to voluntarily agree to limit portion of class accepted ED to 20% or something close to that. That would have to reduce the RD/ED rate discrepancy, which would then mean students feel less pressure to apply ED, which hopefully reduces ED app numbers.

By Cavalier302 (Cavalier302) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

You guys are making my chances look gloomy at Princeton. I'm a normal white kid from a suburban school that has never sent a student to any ivy league school, much less Princeton. I visited the school ,loved it, and will definately apply there early, because it's where I want to go. I don't have any special hooks, I'll just be another valedictorian with a 1460 playing the odds. Money is definately an issue for me but I'm pretty confident that were I to get into Princeton, my finaid package would at least bring the price down to around that of my state school (UVA).I hate the idea of being elbowed aside by athletes, legacies, and prestige whores with better stats than me from private schools applying there just to improve their shot at getting into one of HYPSM, but c'est la vie.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:57 pm: Edit

Marite, I am in total agreement with all your posts on this thread. Most of my reason is from first hand experience. My child was not so into game strategy and went for what she wanted. She did apply to Princeton and liked it very much but it was not her most favorite but among a few of her favorites. She would not be ready to committ ED there. At the time she preferred Yale. She decided to apply SCEA to Yale, not cause of a strategy but cause she preferred the school a bit more and of course, being SCEA, it was not the full committment in October, though it was a true favorite (among a few of her favorites).

Now, we all know the stats at Yale this year. Applying early there was barely an advantage like most think of when choosing to apply early. The early admit rate was only 16%, whereas in the past, when it was ED, it was more like 28% there, surely a nice increase in odds if you know you wish to go there. My D was deferred, though felt honored to even make that cut as they rejected 40% in that round. But in the regular round, they only took 9% of applicants, extremely difficult odds. Not a good year to apply to Yale!

Now, with Princeton, while I don't have the stats in front of me, so forgive me but they are not accurate but approximate, they took something like 32% in the early round, more than other schools in their league. It was a clear advantage to apply early there (though I do not regret my child's choice as that was not a clear first choice). As well, they took a very large percentage of the class in the early round...maybe a third? So, in the RD round, the acceptance rate was a mere 8.8%!!! The odds were quite different in the RD from the ED, but a large contrast at Princeton. My D was put on the waitlist which they told us was just a few hundred kids. She felt honored to get that far at such a school. My feeling is if she made the few hundred on that waitlist, she might not have been far off the mark had she been in the early round when they took something like 32%, not the 8.8% as in her RD round. So, things at Princeton were quite different than at Yale in this regard THIS past year. As it turned out, my D got into two of her favorites, Brown and Tufts (among other good schools, but liked these more than some others) and so all was well. When viewing these statistics, however, it all kinda played a part, I believe. Again, she was not into gaming and would not apply early to Princeton for that reason as she went with her favorites and also with SCEA as that was right for her. Further, who would have even known a year ago that Yale's rates in the early round were so dismal this year and look at the contrast in Princeton's ED/RD rounds. I would not change a thing she did cause she went with schools she had as favorites at that early date. Surely, however, IF Princeton is really a kid's absolute favorite, hands-down, applying early there was a significant advantage this past year. Getting in during the RD round was incredibly difficult. I am awed after seeing the stats played out at Princeton this year, that she even got as far as the waitlist, coming from a high school where nobody has gone to Princeton.


By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 11:35 pm: Edit

One problem with trying to "game the system" is that the rules and the system are everchanging and we are not told of the changes until it is too late. For those kids this past year who really liked Princeton and Yale as their first choices and felt that they could be happy at either but had to only choose one, SCEA at Yale was the more logical choice as it gave the student more flexibility. If the student were looking for financial aid, it was all the more reason to pick Yale, since there is no binding agreement. The fact that Yales's stats were such that the likelihood of getting into Yale early were half of getting into Princeton early did not come into being until after the applications were in and tallied and acted upon. And so it goes each year.

We can only guess about what Princeton is going to do this year for ED and for admissions in general. We can guess that ED stats will go down since the new head has been saying that she is not happy with the large % of the class filled in the early round. But whether she acts on what she has been saying, and whether she acts this year, is yet to be seen and will not be seen until after the ED results are out. So for students trying to figure out what the advantages are, they can only look at past performance which will be useless if the process is changed.

The true super stars such as the Olympic swimmer, the concert level cellist, the research scientist much acclaimed will always be snapped up ED, I am sure. Why let anyone else get a shot at someone you know you want? But it is truly up in the air how the high stat kid with great ECs who loves Princeton enough to ED is going to fare this year. Traditionally, this sort of kid did well at Princeton, since it makes life easier for the rest of the admissions process if you get your SAT parameters set high enough that you don't have to keep eyeballing them as you assess the other candidates during RD. The many other reasons Mini listed come into play as well. But if you are going to cut the ED stats down, who is going to get cut, surely not the cream of the crop that every school wants?

There are inherent risks to every decision and stategy you make in applying to colleges. You can drive yourself crazy, trying to game the system, but, yeah, some folks do win. Some lose as well. My take on it is to play it straight. You can apply ED to Princeton even though you need financial aid and really should be comparing offers. If you get in and they do not feel the same way and want you to pay more than you feel you can, you can back out stating that the finances are the reason, drop the whole thing and try your luck with other schools that have merit awards since you now know that you are not going to get what you need from even one of the most generous schools in aid. But in doing so, you can wrench a lot of stomaches including your own, as you withdraw that app when the kid gets a taste of that acceptance. You can also antagonize your highschool counselor in doing this which can jeopardize some of your chances in the merit market. They really hate it when kids renege ED since it is pretty clear what the situation is. Or you can break the bank, mortgage the house, borrow to the whazoo to finance your kid's dream never knowing if he could have gotten a full ride at Duke or UChicago with one of their merit awards where he likely would have been just as happy and everyone richer and less stressed about the undergraduate experience. Those are the risks in applying ED if you absolutely need financial aid.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 11:42 pm: Edit

Jamimom, you are right that it is ever changing. The situation at Yale this year turned out not like previous years. Applying early was not the boost in odds as in the past or at schools such as Princeton. I don't care only cause my child went with schools she wanted to and liked EA a bit more than ED as well. I don't think she would have done much differently. But clearly the info. changed from past years but by the time you learn that, it is April, lol. Luckily, my child is very happy with her results overall and I am only discussing these as observations.

Btw, Jamimom, my younger one is strongly leaning (or in her words, has decided) to apply ED to NYU/Tisch. We will visit another favorite before that MUST be decided though.


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