Barbarians at the Gates! More Foreign and Public School Students (Gasp) Are Using Early Admission to Get Into Elite Colleges

Barry Lenson

More Foreign and Public School Students Are Using Early Admission to Get Into Elite Colleges

More Foreign and Public School Students Are Using Early Admission to Get Into Elite CollegesAs recently as 2005, most of the students who applied early admission to Ivy League and other top-tier American colleges were from prestigious prep schools and top public high schools. Now that has changed. According to “As a Broader Group Seeks Early Admission, Rejections Rise in the East,” a new article in The New York Times by Richard Pérez-Peña and Jenny Anderson, the early admissions process has become overrun by applicants from public and foreign high schools.

Who are these scallywags and what are they doing? Here are some statistics from the article:

  • Many Ivy League and other high-prestige colleges are now filling 45% of their classes with early admission applicants.
  • Duke University received 2,700 early-admission applications this year. Back in 2005, Duke got only 1,482.
  • The University of Chicago received 8,698 early admissions applications in 2011, compared with 3,776 in 2008 and 2,774 in 2005.
  • At Pomona College, a very “hot” school among current applicants, early applications jumped 33% since last year.
  • Of the 726 students accepted to Princeton via early admission this year, 56% attended public high schools. That’s a 50% increase from five years ago.
  • About 20% of Harvard’s 772 early admits this year are African-American or Hispanic, compared to 15% back in 2005.

Some of these changes are very positive, because they level the playing field and give less privileged students a better chance of attending top-tier schools. But there is a less positive side to the statistics too: with the number of early applicants increasing dramatically, it becomes harder for all kinds of students to get into college via the early admissions process. It’s just another indication of today’s panic and pressure over getting into college.

I’d even crawl out on a limb and say that once everybody starts to apply early admission, it won’t even be early admission any more, but just the standard way that kids apply to college. And only the kids who don’t get admitted to college early admission will crawl back into the applicant pool and apply for college in the standard way, with applications due around New Years, and letters of acceptance getting mailed out by colleges in April.

But if you know a student who is thinking about applying early admission to the college of his or her choice, perhaps you should share some unfortunate news. Statistically, the odds of getting in early are growing slimmer and slimmer.

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