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“Early admission appears to be the ‘new normal’ now, as more students are applying early to Harvard and peer institutions than ever before,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “At the same time, we have continued to stress to applicants, their families, and their guidance counselors that there is no advantage in applying early to Harvard. The reason students are admitted — early or during the regular action process — is that their academic, extracurricular, and personal strengths are extraordinary.”
Regardless, more and more students are applying early. The Washington Post reports that UCLA is now the first university to get an application pool hitting six figures. Dartmouth accepted more than 27% of their early action pool of applicants. Barnard College in New York City said their application pool rose 19% from last year. Wesleyan University in Connecticut said they received 16% more apps this time around. And Williams College in Massachusetts reported a 25% increase in early decision applications this year.
It seems there is an advantage of early application to get admission in colleges.
Are there any cons?
Yes, a major one: financial aid.
If you apply early, you lose the ability to negotiate on financial aid, because you have to accept the offer before the regular admission folks. Sometimes the aid package comes out later, with the rest of the admission pool. So if you want to negotiate your financial package with colleges, you may want to wait and apply later so you have your admissions and financial aid package information available and make the best decision for yourself.
So what do we recommend? Well, if your heart is set on a specific college, apply early, regardless of financial aid. If you want to get into a top school, and money is also a major factor in your decision, then we recommend to wait and apply with the regular pool and not lose your negotiating power for financial aid packages.
Let us know if you have more questions about college admissions. Feel free to contact us at any time.