Factoring in ED in admission chances
Is there any way to accurately factor in the impact that applying Early Decision has on admission chances to a particular school? It's not a criteria on your chancing engine, but for some schools ED can have a dramatic impact. For example, Middlebury College has a 17% overall acceptance rate, but it's ED acceptance rate has been between 45-50% in recent years. Other schools such as Bates, American University, Holy Cross (and many others) have a much higher acceptance rate for students who apply ED. Obviously, some of this is accounted for by 1) a potentially more highly qualified applicant pool for ED, as well as 2) athletic scholarships and 3) legacy admits that tend to apply early decision. But, those factors don't completely account for the wide discrepancy in the two admit rates at many schools.
Is there a recommended way to calculate the percentage "boost" that applying ED might have for a particular school - a formula or some other way factor in the potential benefit (or lack thereof) to applying ED?
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The way ED works is that it is used for not just your top-choice school (cause realistically, if half of the people who used ED did that, they would be applying to Harvard ED with no chance of getting in anyway, whether it be a joke or not) but for your maybe #2 or #3 which you have a decent chance of already getting into. The “formula” is that ED is about a 2x boost of your admissions chance and EA is a 1.5x boost. The higher-ranking colleges such as Ivy and elite T20s have higher ED rates than for Regular Admission, but of course it is still a low amount. I recommend for you personally pick the school that is the highest on your personal ranking list, that you already have a decent shot at getting into (whether it be your #1 or not). The biggest mistake people make is that they pick their dream school, usually a reach like an ivy or Stanford, and still don’t get in. They think that their ED is a guaranteed admittance but often if it is not your #1 school, it will be very hard to conceal the fake enthusiasm on your essays which AOs will see right through and discount you for.
To answer your question - Yes, applying ED roughly doubles your chances, but it cannot help you get into a school you are already not qualified/below average for, etc. I don’t know if this double rate is really accurate, but it’s the general consensus on the online college-applying community. Honestly this data varies so much among schools that I don’t think there is one-100% accurate way to find out your new chances. Figure it bumps a target/hard target to a safety.
It's difficult to determine how much ED will impact each individual person at each school. That being said, while controlling for factors such as profile strength, students generally have a 10-12% better chance of getting in ED, 6-8% for restrictive early action, and 4-6% for EA. You may find this post helpful: https://blog.collegevine.com/does-applying-early-decision-increase-my-chances/. Hope this helps, and good luck!
So ED usually attracts more elite/high level applicants than regular decision so how much of a boost is received is hard to calculate. ED also depends on how many apply ED and how many school X will admit. But I’d say for ED assuming you are above the near the top of the mid 50% in SAT and GPA or exceed middle 50 you have a boost relating to 10-25% of what your current chance is.
50% chance to school is now 55-63%. Be aware this is heavily rule of thumb and differs from elite schools to less competitive schools.
Hope this helps and comment if you want clarification