School of Thought: Admissions becoming increasingly difficult

“Early decision” and “early admission” were popular choices for seniors at John Jay High School this year. Applying early means that one can apply to their favorite school in November and get an answer by December. If accepted early decision, the student is obligated to attend that school. However, if accepted early admission, a student can still apply to other colleges. Traditionally, the acceptance rate for early decision/admission at a school was greater than the acceptance rate for regular decision. However, recently, at John Jay, many students were deferred or rejected this December. Although I was fortunate enough to get into the school to which I applied early, I am shocked at how many of my classmates had been turned away from the college of their choice. These are smart, talented students who have excelled in every aspect of high school, and who seemed like perfect fits for the schools to which they were applying. So why were so many students turned down?

Firstly, it is not just in John Jay that early decision deferral rates have been up. A recent New York Times article confirmed my suspicion that early decision has become tougher for many schools. The article, titled “As a Broader Group Seeks Early Admission, Rejections Rise in the East,” states that more people than ever before are taking advantage of the early admission opportunity. Before, the majority of applicants came from wealthy areas of the East Coast. But now the idea has diffused to the West Coast and beyond. The article cites Duke University as an example, whose early admission applicants from the West Coast or overseas quadrupled this year from 2005. The dean of admissions at Duke subsequently said of the East Coast population, “Their odds have definitely decreased.” Many top schools report similar statistics, saying they have an overwhelmingly bigger early admission pool than ever before. This, of course, makes competition stiffer.

This new trend has made things difficult for many John Jay students who now have to wait until April to hear back from their other top choices. I wonder as well how this will affect seniors of future years. I wonder if, knowing how hard the admission process is, more people will wait to apply regular decision. But for all my current classmates who are now a bit dispirited, I’m sure that wherever you end up you will be successful.

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