I'm a junior in high school at the moment and I'm trying to figure out what schools I'm considering applying to as ED. Although its a well-known fact that the ED rounds of selective schools have higher acceptance rates, it's also usually because the applicants in the ED pool are more competitive.
I have a 3.85 UW/4.39 W GPA, a 1450 SAT (may reach 1500s by the time I apply), and my ECs are the following:
- founded my own online design and marketing agency, where I managed multiple clients— one of which had over 2 million followers across all social media, meaning my work has reached millions, and my business has generated thousands of dollars
- hosted free classes for spanish-speakers trying to learn english via Duolingo Events
- built a lego model city of over 30,000 pieces over the span of years
- teacher's aide in honors chemistry
- summer camp counselor
- black belt in karate, taught younger kids on earning their belts as well
- worked with various game developers in social media marketing, accumulating over 8,000 followers on my own personal gaming blog account
- leading roles in musicals, plays, and music festivals at my own high school each year
- founded a domestic violence survivor club and became the director of social media in a culinary culture club
I'm thinking of applying ED to a few different "level" schools per say—
1. Amherst/Williams (Highly Selective)
2. Tulane/USC (Still Very Selective
3. NYU/BU (Selective)
Am I strong enough of an applicant to be applying ED to schools like Williams and Amherst? Or should I focus on schools that are just a little bit less selective? I'd love to hear your advice!
I would only apply to a school ED if I fell into any of these categories:
1. Most consider me a super strong applicant for the school I'm looking to ED at. For example on CollegeVine, if your chancing % is about 30%, you are a decent applicant for that school.
2. If I had 1 or more hooks like the following:
a. Recruited Athlete
b. Legacy (doesn't apply for Amherst)
c. Development Candidate (child of donor)
d. Child of faculty/staff member
e. Deans' list candidate or VIP (someone earmarked for special admission by the Dean of Admissions like a Malala)
f. Applying through a community service org. like Posse or Questbridge because you have 1 or more hooks, a.) Person of Color, b.) Low Income, c.) First Generation
When you factor in all the hooked applicants who apply ED, that accounts for about 75% of the admit pool. So when a school like Harvard admits 722 from 9553 applicants, about 500 of them are hooked applicants and 222 are the strongest applicants out of the 9553 pool. So the admit rate is really not that different than the RD rate of 2.5%.
With a lower-than-average UWGPA and SAT score, I would not apply ED to these schools. USC's ED rate was 6% this year which is lower than Harvard and Stanford.
The other downside of ED applies to applicants who are applying for financial aid. If you are planning on applying for financial aid, applying ED is a bad thing because once accepted you can't in theory negotiate your financial aid package. You can complain about it and if the school doesn't want to budge, they allow you to withdraw and apply to other schools RD. So you are stuck accepting whatever deal they give you.
The other thing that really hasn't happened until the last 2 cycles is that there is a hypebeast mentality to applying ED to schools. For instance, everyone is applying these days to NorthEastern, USC, Tulane ED, when ranking wise they are not really that great. Being highly selective doesn't mean you are going to get a world-class education at these places.
I would much rather go to Wake Forest or UofRichmond or Vassar or William and Mary where the RD admit rates are in the 20% to 30% and the quality of education is top drawer.
ED is really not worth it unless you are dead set on that school, run its net price calculator and know your family can afford it, and it is a top school like an Ivy or very close (selectivity doesn't mean prestige). Like CameronBameron said, schools like Tulane aren't really worth applying ED. You'll probably get in because their ED acceptance rate is about 30% vs. 10% for EA. But Tulane is notorious for giving bad aid and this goes double for any school you apply to ED. If they know you applied on a binding round, they don't have to give you the really good scholarships that would normally convince you to choose them over others. You're going! And it might end up being borderline or outright unaffordable, FAFSA is not as reliable as people think. It's not worth paying too much for a school like Tulane. At my school, multiple rich kids with slightly above-average stats applied ED to Tulane and were committed by mid-December, but they can afford $70-80k a year for aid.
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