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?
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
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