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Early Application Deadlines are Here

Hard to believe that summer is over, the leaves are changing here in the Northeast and our nights are growing longer but most importantly, EARLY APPLICATION DEADLINES ARE UPON US.

Did you know that most colleges and universities fill almost 50 percent of their incoming class in the early decision rounds? If your grades and scores (#1 in admissions) are in range then we hope you’re planning to leverage the early round and up your odds by applying NOW.

The question is… are you ready?


  • If you are NOT waiting for scores, submit your apps this week, if you haven’t already.
  • If you took September or October tests (SAT and Subject Test scores for October just came out 10/19), be sure you update your Common App if needed.
  • Use this weekend to go old-fashioned on your applications and essays, print them out for a final read, and do your FINAL check. By this Sunday afternoon (10/21), wrap up final details, save your files one more time, and submit.


College Early Deadline(s)
Amherst College ED: 11/1/18
Babson College EDI and EA: 11/1/18

EDII: 1/2/19

Barnard College ED: 11/1/18
Bates College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Bentley University ED: 11/15/18
Boston College EA: 11/1/18
Boston University EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/2/19
Bowdoin College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Brown University ED: 11/1/18
Bryn Mawr College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Bucknell EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/15/19
CalTech EA: 11/1/18
Carnegie Mellon University ED: 11/1/18; EA (juniors) 1/1/19
Claremont McKenna EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/5/19
Colby College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Colgate University EDI: 1/15/18; EDII: 1/15/19
Columbia University ED: 11/1/18
Connecticut College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Cornell University ED: 11/1/18
Dartmouth College ED: 11/1/18
Dickinson College EDI: 11/15/18; EA: 12/1/18; EDII: 1/15/19
Duke University ED: 11/1/18
Emerson College EA: 11/1/18
Emory University EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Georgetown University EA: 11/1/18
Hamilton College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Harvard University REA: 11/1/18
Harvey Mudd College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/5/19
Haverford College EDI: 11/15/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Johns Hopkins University ED: 11/1/18
Middlebury College EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/1/19
MIT EA: 11/1/18
New York University EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Northwestern University ED: 11/1/18
Pomona College EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Princeton University SCEA: 11/1/18
Rice University ED: 11/1/18
Stanford University REA: 11/1/18
Swarthmore ED: 11/15/18
Tufts University EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Tulane University EA: 11/15/18; EDI: 11/1/18
University of Chicago EA/EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/2/19
University of Michigan EA: 11/1/18
UNC Chapel Hill EA: 10/19/18
University of Pennsylvania ED: 11/1/18
University of South Carolina EA: 10/21/18
University of Virginia EA: 11/1/18
Vanderbilt University EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/1/19
Villanova University EA/ED: 11/1/18
Washington U. St. Louis EDI: 11/1/18; EDII: 1/2/19
Yale University SCEA: 11/1/18

early decision application deadlines


Be sure to finalize your Early Decision II and/or Regular round essays and have them locked and loaded in your online application accounts (UC Application, Common App, etc.). We can help you with your application and your essays immediately via our Common App 911 and Essay Guidance packages! Don’t miss the opportunity to leverage yourself, your essays and your application.


It is your responsibility to ensure every piece of your application has been submitted INCLUDING what your high school is supposed to submit. CHECK the specifics for your early round colleges as policies vary by school and then do your due diligence to ensure all of your ducks are in a row. It’s imperative you stay on top of this important administrative piece to your application. After all, your school won’t get deferred because a document was missing, YOU will.

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Early Round Wins Again for the Class of 2021

Early round versus regular round? With our 20+ years of experience in college admissions we can guarantee you this shouldn’t be a question in your mind at all, ever, because the answer is ALWAYS without a shadow of a doubt … BOTH! Here’s why and it’s simple. Applying in the early round significantly increases your odds of admissions –across the board.

Early Round college admissions knockout


We want to make SURE you understand the benefits of applying in the early round so we made it nice and easy. Our chart below only highlights Ivies and Stanford/MIT, but know that this trend flows across the board at all top-tier schools. For instance, Claremont McKenna’s early round acceptance rate was around 31 percent whereas the regular round acceptance rate was 10.35 percent. For the sake of clarity, these stats can’t get any more crystal.


Your admission odds are much higher when applying in the early round versus regular. That said, there is no guarantee and you must have grades and scores in range. Always remember that grades and scores are #1!

Ivy League early round & regular acceptance rates



The old adage ‘The early bird catches the worm’ is never more true than in college admissions and data speaks –actually it SHOUTS in this case. These stats clearly show that developing an early round application strategy is absolutely KEY (not to mention worth it!) in the admissions process… no matter the tier of college you’re targeting.

Competitive Early Round college admissions

Read more on the advantages of applying to college in the early round and, for all rising seniors…what are you waiting for? Get your application and essays done before going back to school in the fall.  We are here to help.

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Waiting for Decisions

These days the majority of our clients take advantage of early decision and early action application options. Odds go up dramatically in the early round, especially using the early decision binding option. Odds are doubled, for instance, at schools such as Northwestern, Carleton, Middlebury, and William and Mary.

Many colleges are using the early round to accept 40-50% of their classes. When Michele worked in the Dartmouth admissions office in the late 90’s, the Ivies tended to fill up no more than a THIRD of the class through early decision. Now that number has risen dramatically with colleges like U Penn filling HALF the class in ED, Dartmouth over 40% and many small liberal arts colleges 40-50%. Why? Because the yield in ED is 100% (or close) meaning that students have to say YES. That way colleges can control the quality and score averages of the class much more accurately. Plus, any time they stretch to accept an applicant who is interesting but may be “low” in scores, that applicant is bound to say YES.



Clearly that is NOT the case in the regular round when the vast majority of students apply. With record high applications, admissions officers are reluctant to stretch for a student who may ultimately turn them down, nor do they have to “close read” a file to look deep between the lines. Instead, they try to maintain the high SAT/ACT averages and students from the top of their class so the numbers come out high at the end of the day.

Even though savvy students take advantage of ED/EA, students who are rejected in that round or who simply weren’t ready, end up in the regular round with the rest of humanity. Because the Ivies and top colleges are in high demand especially with international students, application levels tend to soar and this year is no exception. University of Virginia received 22% more early applications this year and even some of the smaller schools like Colby College in Maine are experiencing huge increases in the number of applications – also a 22% rise this year and Skidmore College had a 13% increase.

Though not all schools have announced their overall application numbers yet, most so far are up from last year – Yale is up 5%, Penn 3.8%, Harvard 1.2% – -so far the only school with a drop is Dartmouth College with a 3.2% decrease from last year, although they were up in the early round with the largest number of early decision applicants ever received.

As always, we will keep an eye on application numbers in the regular round and will report in those numbers as soon as they become available. Head to our recently updated blog post, Class of 2021 Regular Decision Deadlines and Notification Dates to stay on top of the dates for your regular application outcomes.

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Accepted in the Early Round –Now What?

Bravo! You were accepted to your top choice college in the early round. Now what?

Granted, much of the hard work is behind you but you aren’t done just yet. The remainder of your senior year remains a pivotal time for seniors because colleges CAN change their minds.

Now that you’re IN you need to ensure that you stay IN. Here’s how:

Don’t Slack in School OR Get Into Trouble

If you applied early to college and were accepted, CONGRATULATIONS! However, this is no reason to stop going to class, or to decide to stage a sit-in on the principal’s car with a can of beer—because if you mess around, you can you still be “unaccepted.” Each year an unlucky handful of kids are “unaccepted” to top colleges because of poor senior year performance. You’ll notice if you look at an acceptance letter that acceptance is contingent upon a strong senior year. Major ethical infractions (cheating, axe-murdering your neighbor, etc…) and big grade drops can compel colleges to rescind their decision. Many schools have long waiting lists and will have no trouble finding someone great to fill the spot of a cheater or a delinquent. Don’t let this happen to you. It varies by schools, but most schools will send a warning letter if your overall average drops to C or if you get two grades of C- or below during any one term. Avoid the problem by maintaining at least a B average. Besides, you have at least four more years of learning left—and you don’t want to disappoint your teachers who supported you (and wrote recommendation letters) in the first place! Michele used to write these letters at Dartmouth to over a dozen kids a year – they heard their explanations and then decided on whether to rescind admission or not.

Enjoy Your High School

Have you been so busy these four years that you never made it over to the studio art room monthly exhibits? Ever seen your high school fencing team compete? Always wanted to try out for a play? Now’s the time!! Enjoy your remaining months in high school. Just keep “clean” as far as behavior.


Plan a Great Summer

Can you even believe you’re hearing us say that? This is your chance to go to cooking school, take sailing lessons, or lie on the beach. No standardized tests to prep for or academic niches to deepen. If you want to do a gap year, be sure to clear it with your college as they have to grant it to you! As you get older, free time gets harder and harder to find – it’s fine to take some time off before college to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

Read Your Future College Newspaper Online

While you want to be present to your time in high school, it’s fun to read about your future home and see what’s happening on campus.


Read the Classics!

In college, you will most likely have distributive requirements or a freshman seminar where you will read high level books. Order a course by The Teaching Company on great literature ( and make it a goal to read 5-10 classics before freshman year. That way you will have a leg up, especially if you are more math/science oriented.


Congratulate yourself on a job well done as your hard work clearly paid off with your acceptance(s) but understand your work is not yet done. Finish up senior year strong knowing you have a leisurely summer ahead as you prepare to embark on yet another four-year adventure.

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Early Admissions Trends Class of 2021

This is proving to be an interesting early admissions round. Many schools have received record high applications in the early decision pool. We are assessing college’s released early stats on the hour.

Some of our observations on early admissions trends for the Class of 2021 so far:

More students are applying in the early round than ever before:

  • Princeton reported an 18% rise in early applications.

  • Dartmouth is up 3.7% in early apps since they started ED in 2006. They received a record 1,999 early applications.

  • Cornell reported a 10% increase in early applications with 5,384 received.

  • Columbia reported a 16% increase in early applications with 4,086 received.

  • Duke received 3,516 early applications.

  • Stanford opted not to release their early numbers in a unique and unusual move.

Note the following Class of 2021 early round acceptance rates at some top schools so far:

Several top early action schools have pushed their calendar later:

  • UNC and UVA are releasing decisions after Jan. 1 and UChicago and UMichigan JUST released –we assume this is so that kids who get into ED schools will let them know and rescind their applications.
    • For these early action schools, this helps them ensure their yield will be better, meaning they are sick of losing kids to the SCEA schools or to top ED schools so by moving their date to AFTER those schools announce their ED dates, students will have to (because of ED policies) withdraw from the EA school before they even hear if they get in. That way, these students don’t turn down the EA school. Yield data is protected. Sneaky!

More non-college background kids (AKA 1st generation applicants) are getting a hook in the early round.

  • This means more are applying and the college marketing to these students is working.

Civic involvement matters.

  • Local initiatives and taking action on a local level vs just presenting to colleges with high scores and math contests can have a big impact. The student who lobbied for more rights for the hearing impaired AND presented top scores and GPA/rank stood out much more than the student who was a member of 6 random clubs with limited activity or top scores and GPA/rank.

Asian and Indian students still face tougher odds given the increased number of first generation college students, minority admit and international applicants.

The pool is still over saturated with math-science students. Students with a strong humanities side do better overall.

At the Ivies, most of the class is consumed with hooked students.

  • Of the accepted students in the early round at Harvard this year, 12.6 percent were African American, 8.8 percent Latino, and Native Americans and Native Hawaiians represented 1.1 percent. 8.7 percent were first generation college students.
    • And, we would guess, based on prior years, that at least 15-20 percent were recruited athletes. Legacies are between 10-15 percent depending on the school as well. This makes up the majority of the early accepted pool.
  • Harvard took many from Research Science Institute (RSI, the competitive high school science program at MIT) plus other students with top awards such as Coolidge winners, TASP students, etc. Then, there are the hooked VIP students who had famous and very generous parents.
  • You can see there were few slots left for just all out strong applicants with perfect scores, #1 in their class, etc.

 It’s an exciting time of year for seniors! We’ll continue to monitor the early stats as more are released daily!