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Lessons From Early Results

By now, many seniors are starting to hear back from regular decision schools, and they’re facing some tough -- and hopefully exciting! -- choices. But juniors, not so fast -- don’t forget about early results from this past year! There’s a lot you can learn about how to strategize for your own applications.

Individually, there was a lot to celebrate this year with early results! We’re so thrilled that many of our students were admitted early to their top choice schools. But when we zoom out and take a look at the bigger picture, some trends become apparent -- and those trends can look a little, well, harsh. Fear not, juniors! We’re here to answer your questions about how to look at this year’s admissions results, as well as what you can do to best maximize your chance of admission to the colleges of your choice.

So...what happened?

Basically, admission rates were down at top universities across the country. MIT, for example, admitted just 4.8% of its early applicants, a vastly smaller percentage than last year’s 7.4% of early applicants who were admitted.

You may be feeling overwhelmed by that statistic, and that’s fair. But that’s largely due to the number of applicants, not the number of students accepted early. At MIT, for example, the number of students admitted early action rose from 687 to 719. But more importantly, the number of applicants rose overwhelmingly. MIT saw an increase of 62% in the volume of applications. we just threw a lot of numbers at you. Don’t get overwhelmed. The important thing to know is that the number of early applicants at selective schools is going way, way up, which means the chances of each student getting in went way, way down.

Wow. Do I even have a chance?

Yes, of course you do! Remember: roughly the same number of students are getting into these colleges. It’s just the admissions percentage that’s decreasing.

There might be a number of reasons for this. With this year’s test optional policies, some students might be throwing their hats into the ring even though they wouldn’t traditionally be considered strong candidates. That could be a great option; if you’re a brilliant student who simply doesn’t test well, you might want to take advantage of those test-optional policies. (Key word: might. See our upcoming blog on this topic for more info!) But we suspect there were a number of students applying to top universities that wouldn’t have been good fits at these schools, hence more students being denied and admission rates decreasing.

How can I strategize?

Great question. We believe there are a few key takeaways from this year that you can use when applying to colleges in the upcoming year.

  • Apply early! Yes, we just made a big deal about how low early admission rates are this year. But they’ll likely be even lower in the regular decision round. Applying early is still the best strategy here. Whether that means making sure to apply to your dream school REA or applying to as many schools early as possible may be a tough decision, and it will be based on your personal needs, desires, and background.

  • Emphasize fit! This is a tough one. You’ll probably want to apply to a lot of schools -- maybe even more than you would in a normal year. But you don’t want to come across as applying to schools at random or just based on the name. Take care to show each school why you’re a good fit for them.

  • Stand out! Easier said than done, we know. But when schools like NYU are looking at 100,000 applicants(!), it’s crucial that you not blend in with the crowd. Consider what’s unique about you. Hint: it’s not your grades or your test scores! Show your personality, your unusual experiences, and your best attributes through your applications and essays.

Sound daunting? We get it. But we’re here to help! Sign up for a free consultation today to see how the experts at Eureka College Admissions Counseling can help with your college applications this year.


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