It’s that time of year! Schools around the country are releasing the results of their Early Decision and Early Action admission rounds. And while we can’t glean everything from the results that have been released so far, it’s always an interesting and enlightening practice to look over the trends, accepted student demographics, and acceptance rates at some of the country’s most competitive universities.

One of the most curious things that we can already gather from the data is that, unlike previous years, ED and EA numbers didn’t grow across the board. While some schools did see increases in the number of ED/EA applications they received (Brown received 8% more ED applications than last year; Cornell saw a 7.4% increase), other schools saw decreasing numbers. Harvard saw a 7.7% drop in total EA applications, while Dartmouth, Penn, and Duke saw similar drops in their numbers. Unlike previous years when nearly every single school saw a rise in early applicants, this year was varied.

While it’s impossible to know exactly why numbers decreased at certain elite schools, there are a few hypotheses. In The Harvard Crimson, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons cited economic uncertainty and fewer high school seniors as two possibilities. Interestingly, he also thought that, “the California wildfires, natural disasters, and school shootings might have affected application numbers.” Changes in application requirements may have resulted in decreased numbers at certain schools, and others attributed their lower numbers to fewer early international applicants. Some schools even remarked that decreases were expected after prior early application booms.

Noteworthy observations…

Diverse, first-generation, and low-income applicants are priorities for many schools

Rates of admission will continue to be much, much higher for EA and ED than regular decision

  • Duke’s early decision acceptance rate for the class of 2024 was 21%. For comparison, it’s regular decision acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was only 5.7%.
  • Harvard accepted 13.9% of early applicants this year; it’s regular decision acceptance rate last year was 4.6%
  • Yale accepted 13.8% of this year’s early applicants; they accepted 5.9% of regular decision applicants last year

Legacy status can get you far in the EA and ED process

Many schools have yet to release their numbers for their early applicant pool, and other schools refuse to release them at all. And until we see numbers for regular decision, it’s an incomplete picture. Nevertheless, this data does highlight the benefits and importance of applying early if you have your heart set on a particularly school. Not only are you competing against a smaller number of applications, you’re also indicating to that school that it’s your #1 choice.

To our Enrichery class of 2024 students who were admitted early to their schools of choice, CONGRATULATIONS!

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