Students and parents (and unfortunately many school counselors) are often unfamiliar with the Early Round (Early Action or Early Decision) option at many of America’s elite schools. We have crunched the data on the Early Round vs. Regular Decision admission rates, which should show you that whenever possible, you should apply to EA/ED.
While most Ivy League Schools offered Early Decision options, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale offer Restricted Early Action option to students. If student choose to apply to one of them, they cannot apply to any other private schools in the early stage, and public schools that offer ED options.
If you look at the admission rates for Early Round, they are significantly higher at all 8 schools. (We have developed a ratio, which we term ER/RD, which measures how great of an advantage ER applicants have.) The ER/RD ratio ranges from 2.1 (Cornell) to 3.0 (Harvard). In simpler terms, it means you are 2.8x more likely to be admitted to Brown applying in ER than in RD.
Though Stanford has decided to not release their early round admission data, we can assume the situation is similar since all elite schools are still competing with each other for elite students.
Based on the above data, we can easily find out that, because of the timing of application, students with similar/ same background & academic performance will have diversely application outcome. Therefore, we highly recommend you to organize your timeline and work on your college application scheme at the earliest possible, including ahead preparation for related tests. This way, you can apply to your ideal colleges at the most advantageous timing and hence gain the admissions successfully.
Now, there are more than 1000 universities in the US have adapted this “test-optional” policy and you can have the full list from Fair Test’s website. https://www.fairtest.org/university/optional
However, when you look into the details, there are different situations that fits different applicants.
1. No SAT/ACT at all for all students – such as Pitzer College (except homeschooled, Joint Medical Program applicants, and students attending schools from which grades are not provided.)
2. No SAT/ACT for US or Canadian citizens, still required for international students. – such as Brandeis University
3. Applicants can choose to submit different test results such as SAT, ACT, 3 AP test results, or 3 SAT II Subject Test results. However, this might also come with additional requirements. For example, the University of Chicago requires at least 1 of these SAT subjects has to be math or science, and 1 be English, Social Science, Arts or World Languages. As for AP exams, they need to be at least one in Math, Computer Science, or Science and at least one in English, History, or Language..
University of California system is the most popular college system in the US with nearly or over 100,000 applicants to its top 3 campuses (LA, SD and Berkeley), and the single largest university source of customers for the College Board. Test-optional is not an easy decision to make. It’s highly doubtful that UC will go with no requirement for all applicants, but set up new application rules. So, here comes a more important question, “what’s the fairer alternative(s) of SAT and ACT as admission requirements, free from family income, parents’ education, or even race?”
Freshman or transfer? International students vs. California residents (in-state), vs. non-California residents (out-state)
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