Yale EA





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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Yale EA
By Burllinz (Burllinz) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 08:35 am: Edit

My D visited Yale last week and absolutely fell in love with it. This has become her clear first choice. She has really good stats(1600,val, three season varsity athlete,790,770,720).I have been reading back in the cc archives and have discovered that last year's EA at Yale was painful due to the increased number of applicants. As I mentioned before on this board there is no history of students going to Yale from her public hs. We are getting downright discouraged! I am thinking that maybe applying Early to Yale is not a good idea. That perhaps there is no benefit in doing so. Maybe she would be "wasting" her early application. Any suggestions?

By Coureur (Coureur) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 09:10 am: Edit

Your D sounds almost exactly like my D last year: very similar stats, fell in love with Yale after a visit, etc. Her school also had never sent anyone to Yale in living memory. Her ECs were strong in music rather than sports, but other than that they almost fit the same description.

She applied to Yale EA and was rejected - not even deferred. It was very discouraging. However, I do not consider that she "wasted" her EA shot. It was her top choice and she went for it. That's what I think that EA/ED is for - not to maximize your chances of getting into a prestigious school, but to maximize your chances of getting into your own top choice school.

So if Yale really is clearly her top choice, I say go for it. Perhaps they will want athletes more than they wanted musicians last year. Just be aware that, short of being named Bush, there are no sure things in Yale admissions. Good luck.

And the other thing to remember is that even if she fails in EA, applicants with your D's stats will still do very well in the RD round. My D ended up with many fine acceptances. In September we are dropping her off at her second choice school: Harvard. She has forgotten all about Yale. She is very happy.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 09:14 am: Edit

We faced the same dilemma at the beginning of the summer, although my daughter's stats are not quite as high as yours. She had been in love with Yale since fall of junior year when she went to the Yale presentation, and after a short visit in Jan

We looked at the entry statistics, then we looked at the other schools on her list, and she stayed overnight at Yale (3 weeks actually).

What she discovered was EA last year at Yale gave little advantage (granted that might change this year, for good or bad, because I don't think they knew what the final yield would be), while ED at some of her other choices would appear to give a clear advantage. More importantly she noticed that her other favorite schools were consistently rural or suburban, and she really didn't want to be in a city - New Haven, to her, is urban.

So what I'm saying, I guess is someone has to get into Yale, if it's not a fluke on your DD's list, a true clear first choice, show her the odds, (she's a smart kid, you can discuss the "wasted ED" aspect of this in relationship to her other choices - as we told our DD, this is your first real adult decision, you are the person who has to live with the results good or bad) and go for Yale if it is still her first choice.

The truth is they've got their pick of kids and our children have some chance but not much (your daughter has a much better chance than the average, however, congratulations!), and there is no surefire way to know if any particular person fits a slot that any particular Ivy has available.

By Idler (Idler) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:36 am: Edit

Does anyone know what Yale's yield was this year? Was it higher than their usual?

By Cangel (Cangel) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:45 am: Edit

Yes, I think it was a little higher, which is evidently not what they expected. Stanford which also recently changed over to SCEA, went down in yield, but not much. Per Newsweek.

By Idler (Idler) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:58 am: Edit

They expected higher?

By Gtownmom (Gtownmom) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 11:02 am: Edit

Dear OP,

Congratulations on your DD's accomplishments. She will have many great choices once the admission decisions are in. I do have a little advise based on our experiences last year...

My son's stats were not as glowing as your DD's but Yale was his first choice so he "went for it" with the SCEA (Single choice early action--Yale is not ED or EA). In December he was deferred which was disappointing and exciting at the same time. The emotions ran high. Luckily we did one thing right and I recommend it highly: He finished and mailed all his other applications prior to receiving the Yale decision. I will say it was very tempting to "not bother" with all the other essays and applications (and spend the money on application fees) until we heard from Yale in case it was all unecessary. But I think it would have been very hard to do a good job on his other applications with the "deferred (or worse rejected) cloud" hanging over his head. Looking back, I guess I could have secretly hung onto the applications which weren't due yet and just mailed them if he was deferred or rejected. It could have saved the application fees if he'd been accepted to Yale. (But I knew the odds and dropped them all in the mail before the Yale decision came.) That's what we did right.

What we did wrong was not have a few "sure things" in the bag (aside from his state school which he didn't really want to attend) before April 1st. It was agonising being the last kid in his class of nearly 500 who didn't really know where he was going (or have a respectable acceptance to mention). We knew the reason was because he was shooting a lot higher than the other kids, but having to say, "I don't know yet" whenever anyone, student or parent, asked made him feel like they thought he couldn't get in anywhere! It would have been better if he could have said, "I've been accepted to X, Y, and Z but I'm waiting on a few others before I decide." It also would have eased his mind from December to April 1st to KNOW he would have a good choice come May.

In the end it all worked out. As my screen name implies, he's off to Georgetown (his second choice last winter...his first choice now, funny how that works! We all now agree that Georgetown is the absolute best fit for him). We couldn't be happier. We don't feel like we wasted his ED. The only disadvantage is that I think his applications and essays got better as he went on so his SCEA Yale application turned out not to be his best work.

Good luck to your daughter and stick with CC. The support here is wonderful!

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 11:23 am: Edit

If you don't apply, you have no chance of being accepted. I say, GO FOR IT!! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

Apply. Not much to lose, unless you've got another potential SCEA/ED school out there that attracts as much, and gives a big advantage.

The reality is that if she likes Yale, there should be a dozen or so schools that she might like equally, given the chance. Yale is a great, great school, but it has its warts too -- large numbers of TAs, a relatively unattractive urban environment, foreign study discouraged (only 100 undergraduates a year study abroad), very high "entitlement" index (if that matters to you), competition from graduate students for performance spots in things like theater and music making participation more difficult, a history of labor strife affecting campus life. All schools have their warts, of course, but once you actually begin to make lists like this (and always for your own kid), you and she begin to realize that all schools involve certain tradeoffs, and there's plenty of good ones out there.

Nonetheless, if she loves Yale, have her put her heart and soul into the application, and light a candle! (as someone else wrote, "someone" has to get it!)

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:25 pm: Edit

I would encourage her to apply if she's sure it's her first choice, but also warn her to prepare for deferral/rejection. I'm assuming she's not a recruited athlete?

Good luck to her, whatever she decides!

By Driver (Driver) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit

Some good advice above. As the parent of yet another Yale ED deferee/RD rejectee (for the HS class of '03), I say go for it if it's really Yale she wants. That's what it's (EA/ED)there for. A student with your daughter's qualifications should do fine with her RD choices, as mine did. Just be sure, as others have stated above, that she really investigates and has an affinity for these alternate choices, because they may well become her real choices.

As far as the idea of "wasting" her EA choice, one caveat: Among the uber-elites, there are studies that indicate that, at least in the recent past, Early Decision has been significantly more helpful at Princeton....so if your daughter is closely considering Yale versus Princeton, you might want to look into that, because it seems that applying EA could actually make a real difference at Princeton.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:38 pm: Edit

Princeton, Columbia, and Penn are the ivies that seem to rely most heavily on ED. Princeton is often considered among the most selective ivies, but its ED acceptance rate is among the highest in the ivies.

By Driver (Driver) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:53 pm: Edit

What prompted my comment about Princeton was a recollection of reading in "The Early Admissions Game" that ED had the effect of adding 100 points to an applicant's SAT at most elite schools---but 200 points at Princeton. I also recall seeing a study online--possibly associated with the Christopher Avery book, but I just can't remember now--that had a spread sheet showing ED applicants accepted, broken down by SAT scores. Harvard and Yale both accepted around 50% of their 1600 SAT Early Decision applicants-- (Harvard a little under, Yale a little over, as I recall)--but Princeton accepted 90%. So, a person with a 1600 SAT who was torn between Princeton and Yale might want to consider that when making the EA decision.

By Over30 (Over30) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 12:54 pm: Edit

As someone mentioned above, the first application is often not the best. My son got in his EA school, but was looking for merit money so applied to several others. Looking back on his apps, he felt that his applications (especially his essays) got better with each one he did. My recommendation is to start early and do several of them before the EA one is due. She'll learn a lot through the process. Good luck

By Idler (Idler) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:31 pm: Edit

Also, the first college a kid falls in love with usually isn't the one and only--says as much about the capacity to fall in love as it does about the object, which is a good sign.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:47 pm: Edit

Yet another Yale tale:

If your D likes Yale, go for it, but go for it with eyes wide open, in several directions.

My D was rejected EA as well. It being her first app, it was not as strong as her subsequent apps, particularly with regard to essays. (It didn't help that her SAT's jumped from 1480 to 1580 *after* the Yale app deadline.)

Also, as much as she liked Yale, she loves the college where she's going and if I am ruthlessly honest I would say that it is a better fit for *her* than Yale is/was and that what regret I have attaches to matters like prestige, where my head is ahead of my gut in having the wisdom to reject.
I think she's ahead of me in that she doesn't appear to have even those regrets.

The short of it is: be prepared to the lottery ticket effect (even if your D is a *good* lottery ticket...Yale rejects roughly half of the 1600 apps and a far larger proportion of vals) and have other schools on her list that she would be happy to attend. With that in mind, go for it.

By Gtownmom (Gtownmom) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit

Dear OP, As Thedad says above, often your application improves not only in the quality of your essays, but your rank, gpa, and SAT scores may improve as well AFTER the EA deadline. If Yale is truely your first choice, consider the possibility that you may present a stronger application later in the RD pool. If you are rejected outright, as many, many strong candidates are, you don't have a second chance if you improve anything. Just a thought. With that in mind, best of luck. GtownMom

By Mimk6 (Mimk6) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:27 pm: Edit

My D did Yale regular decision last year -- a last minute decision to apply. Although Yale had accepted students from her HS before (one every year or two or maybe less frequently), no one had gone there in institutional memory. She did get in regular decision (as well as Princeton) much to my surprise and she is going. This would indicate that a student can get in without a trail of students before them having gone. Knowing what I know now, if she had been as passionate about Yale as your child is I would have encouraged her to apply EA because there is double or so the chance of getting in EA -- she used her EA for Stanford (which seemed practical as we live in CA). I will say that the downside of using EA for a school is that you sit with that school in your pocket for months -- you picture yourself there etc. and it becomes difficult in April to dislodge that picture in lieu of another. However, if that EA school is one you really think you would go to no matter where you get in, then that's a great thing. I see no disadvantage to applying early in this case unless there is another school equally appealing with a better chance of getting in EA. But with your D's stats she will have great choices -- why not go for the one that's grabbed her? Good luck.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:50 pm: Edit

The supposed advantage at Princeton is not extant as far as I could see. In any case the value of an increase in probablity of 200 points on the sats is not particularly informative, even if it happened to be true.

Prior to it being taken down, the authors of "The EA Game" had their data posted on the NBER site. I looked at it very closely and it showed that for students scoring 1500-1599 in their surveys, at HYPS those students were accepted at about a 34-38% rate. (this data was several years old, and I suspect that the numbers are lower now by a material factor because of the increased application numbers and students.) Thus if the early app boost were true, you would think that students with low to mid 1400s would be flooding into P or even H and Y to pick up their "advantage". It ain't there. Its a myth concocted by the authors to raise a "populist" objection to logical admissions practices by the schools.

Frankly, there could be an advantage applying to Princeton if they stay ED, which is that they get to "capture" applicants at that stage. Obviously, the only ones worth capturing are ones who might be admitted and go somewhere else (read HYS). The stats for the OP put her in that category statistically.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 06:17 pm: Edit

"I looked at it very closely and it showed that for students scoring 1500-1599 in their surveys, at HYPS those students were accepted at about a 34-38% rate." I drew the same conclusion as Dadx. If Princeton were admitting a whole bunch with 1400 ED, when they take half their class, their overall scores would not be as high as they are.

However, a Princeton adcom told us (as Dadx states) that they are looking to take top students out of the pipeline in the early round. The OP's daughter definitely falls into this category. Princeton and Yale offer many similar advantages, so it's worth taking a look...My d was very taken with Yale but, because it just didn't work with her main EC, began considering Princeton seriously, and she is excited to be attending in the fall. However, she would not have made her early decision on the basis of gamesmanship, so if your d loves Yale, I say go for it.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 08:38 am: Edit

Burlinz -- I thought about this more last night, and I actually think your D may want to strongly consider whether Yale EA is the right choice, assuming you are correct that there is no "benefit" over Yale RD.

It's easy for those of us w/no kids left to go through this, to sit here and pontificate about appropriate use of EA/ED. But the fact is that at some schools it IS easier to get in ED than RD -- all this talk about Princeton, which has an ED acceptance rate at least 3x its RD rate, and fills almost 1/2 its class ED, is a good example -- and it's quite possible that while your D fell in love w/Yale, she would also love Princeton (or some other school).

So while Yale EA does seem like the best option for her, since it's her clear first choice, I think you are right to ask questions about whether it's the right thing to do. If she thinks she'd be just as happy at Princeton, and won't be thinking "what if..." if she gets into Princeton ED, then it's worth a second thought (and I'm just using Princeton as an example b/c it's been mentioned here).

The fact is that your D is clearly qualified for any school, based on scores, ECs, and (I assume) grades/rank. So it comes down to the "crap shoot" factor, which means it makes sense to at least think about how best to work the system, regardless of what she decides in the end.

I'm in the minority on this board, but I don't think being hung up on "fit" is necessarily the best approach to finding a college. The fact is that there are plenty of kids who would be perfectly happy at any number of schools. So my advice is to attend the most academically prestigious school you get into at which you believe you can be happy. And don't worry so much about whether it's the "best fit" -- with so many schools in the country, I would go crazy if I tried to figure out which one was the best fit for me.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 09:02 am: Edit

The whole purpose of ED/single choice EA is to for the student to get a lock on their favorite school early in the process. If Yale is indeed your D's first choice, she should go for it but as other posters have suggested, get those other apps out and done as well. I would also apply to a state U or other school with rolling admissions so there is at least a school in her pocket if she is deferred or turned down in Decemeber.

Although the figures were not as favorable for EA last year at Yale, they did give a slight advantage to those who went that route. EA also gives a candidate the opportunity to present his case again if he is deferred, perhaps addressing any weakness in his app during that senior year, including a directed letter from the GC if this should happen. Also I noticed that Yale held fast to actual number of kids they accept early--the "massacre" occurred because many, many kids, more than ever applied early that year when they switched from ED to EA. Because so many more kids applied early, that fixed number translated into a much larger percentage deferred and rejected. This sort of change in applications can really happen at any school and in that sense you are always playing the lottery. In hindsight many of those kids would have applied to Princeton early instead had they known early kids there were accepted at a 30% rate. But that does not mean it will happen again this year. So you are really in the same boat with any selective school--you don't know what the admissions scene is going to be until you enter it.

With your D's stats, she is a strong contender at any school. But with the lottery ticket bunch being a strong contender only gets you consideration, and the statistics start taking hold as special interest groups get their allocations. If she is able to be a contributing athlete at Yale, she needs to contact the coach there right away and get on the athletic radar screen. She would be a pretty good admit with an athletic hook. Other than that, she joins the regular pool of outstanding candidates.

By Garland (Garland) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 09:15 am: Edit

"...but your rank, gpa, and SAT scores may improve as well AFTER the EA deadline. " Probably not in this case, as the OP's D is a val with a 1600!

A student this strong (and three-sport athlete as well) does not need to lock up a safer ED. If, this fall, Yale truly remains her first choice, I agree with those who say she should go for it, understanding the need to be ready with other good choices if she is not accepted.

By Momrath (Momrath) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 08:07 am: Edit

Burllinz, It's relatively early in the process. That EA, ED, SCEA application doesn't go in the mail for three months yet. Your daughter still has time to change her mind a few times -- most do. If, after visiting all the schools on her list, she's still abosolutely in love with Yale then by all means, she should apply SCEA. If she doesn't and doesn't get in RD she'll never know if she couldda been a contender.

In the interim, she should work on polishing her application to make herself stand out among the other potential HYP superstars. Obviously her grades and scores are top notch. If she plans to participate in a varsity sport at college so much the better. Her essay and recommendations had better be compelling as well.

What will really push her over the top, in my opinion, is a point of differentiation that makes her special, unique, "interesting" if you will. Something that the admission committee can use to characterize and remember her.

If your daughter's highschool hasn't had much representation at the ivies, then they're probably not too switched on as to how to focus and present accomplishments. You might consider professional help in application building or at least get some books on the topic. I know this sounds mercenary and callous, but, hey, this is YALE we're talking about. The only way your daughter would be wasting her early application would be if she hides her lights under a bushel. She should definitely go for it, but do it with a calculated and educated strategy.


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