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college application

Many high school seniors try to ease the uncertainty of applying to schools by applying early admission.  What is early admission, you might be wondering?  Early admission binds both the student and the college into admittance months earlier than the regular admission deadline is due.  Even in this touch-and-go economy, early admittance seems to be increasing, not decreasing.  Here is a list of several schools which have published their early admittance increases, thanks to The New York Times.

Duke: 31% increase

Northwestern: 11% increase

Cornell: 4% increase

Dartmouth: 3% increase

Occidental: 40% increase (Note: Occidental has a very small program, not totaling over 157 applicants this year.)

The Times goes onto say that Wesleyan, Emory, Pomona and Grinnell were colleges that saw no increase or decrease, but were about even with their early admittance percentages compared to last year.

Some colleges have a non-binding early admittance program, like Stanford, where you have the choice of whether you want to attend the school or not when applying early.  Stanford saw its early admittance rate go up by about 4% this year.  Yale, on the other hand, with a program very similar to Stanford’s, saw its applications drop 5%, along with Amherst, Swarthmore and Hamilton.

Is it good to know your statistics of early admittance before applying to schools?  The Times brings up this important question, ultimately saying “yes” – that even though the reality can be somewhat grim in terms of the freshmen seats being given away to early admittance applicants, it’s still important to be aware of your changes of getting in.  For example, Cornell offered binding acceptances to 1,167 applicants, which totals to about 40% of its freshmen class.  This is a good percentage to know when waiting for those acceptance or rejection letters to come in.

However, early admittance students should be careful when applying to schools with binding programs.  Counselors often discourage early admittance because it decreases your chances of obtaining stellar financial aid in the bargaining process.  Should you decide to apply early with binding or non-binding agreements to colleges and universities, make sure the agreement is the right one for you.

For any college admissions help, consult with our experts at Manhattan Review.

Colleges want students that have excellent grades and SAT scores, but these criteria are frequently not the make-or-break factors that influence acceptance, particularly at highly selective schools.  Colleges have to work hard to keep or make their good reputations, just like students, and therefore need to choose the right students.  Unfortunately, sometimes that means that qualified students don’t get accepted to particular schools – but that does not mean that these students are any less qualified than before they got their thin envelope!

Colleges want specific and unique individuals to attend their schools, not walking transcripts!  But since colleges probably won’t come looking for you (you’re probably not worried about being accepted to college if they are!), you need to find your special niche yourself.

Remember, even when you get accepted to the school of your dreams, no college acceptance letter guarantees a good education, a good job, or a happy life.  Even if you make it to Harvard, there’s no guarantee that your life will be perfect.

Who Gets Accepted?

Today, more students than ever are applying for highly selective colleges; more students overall are planning on attending college after high school, and more successful students are seeking diplomas from big-name schools.  This means that many highly-qualified candidates are rejected from the most selective schools.  Can you believe…

-       Students with perfect SAT scores

-       Valedictorians

-       Winners of famous, private scholarships

… all can get rejected from the most selective (and even less selective!) schools?

The Game Plan:

How can you increase your odds of acceptance into a school that is not only prestigious, but that will give you the best shot at an exemplary education?  Research colleges thoroughly; sometimes colleges are just looking for someone very specific – an oboe player for the orchestra, a star quarterback for the football team, a speaker of Korean to help improve the language department, or a student council star to take over campus government.

Use your Interview to find out whether your specific skill set is particularly desired by a specific school.  Your interview is not only a great way to make a good impression on the admissions officers, but also the easiest way to find out about the kind of students that each college needs.  Come prepared, and don’t be afraid to ask very frank questions about the student body.  It will not harm your chances; in fact, your serious interest in finding the best match for you can only reflect positively on your application.