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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Regular Decision vs Early Action/Decision

Hi there! I've been debating whether to apply Early Action/Decision or Regular Decision to some of my top-choice colleges. I'm a bit stressed about this, so does applying Regular Decision lower your chances of getting in compared to applying early?

6 months ago

Hello! I understand that the decision to apply Early Action/Decision or Regular Decision can be quite stressful. In general, applying Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA) can increase your odds of acceptance, especially at selective colleges.

Applying ED is typically going to result in about 1.6x, or 60% increase, in your chances of admission at super selective schools. For example, if your chances before choosing to apply early were 4%, that would bump your chances up to 6.4%, which is a significant increase. There are a few reasons for this, but a big one is that schools care about their yields (the percentage of students that says yes to their offer of acceptance), and the ED pool will have a 100% yield rate by definition. So, the more students they accept ED, the closer their overall yield rate will be to 100%.

The benefit becomes less pronounced the less selective the school is. Applying through EA also boosts your chances, but the impact is smaller since you're not obligated to attend if accepted, and so there's no benefit for the school's yield.

However, it's crucial to consider a few factors before deciding. Early Decision is binding, meaning if you're accepted, you must enroll in the school. You should only apply ED if you're sure that the college is your top choice, and are willing to sacrifice the ability to evaluate your options Regular Decision. Early Action, on the other hand, allows you to apply early without the commitment, giving you more flexibility when making your final decision, but many selective schools don't offer this option (although some of the most selective, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT all do).

Aside from the impact on your chances of acceptance, if you feel that your application isn't yet at its strongest or you want to improve your test scores or extracurriculars before applying, it could be beneficial to apply Regular Decision. Remember that colleges consider various factors, and when you apply is a relatively small one, so a strong RD app is much more likely to get you in than a weak ED one. It's crucial to submit your best application, even if that means applying during the regular cycle.

In summary, while applying ED or EA can improve your chances of admission, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Consider your readiness to commit to a school and the strength of your application when making your decision. Good luck!

6 months ago

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