When Applying Early to College Can Pay Off

The college admission code isn’t a code that can be cracked easily. There are no hard and fast rules that apply for all colleges and the selection criteria aren’t entirely objective. But data can provide us with some clues into admission chances.


Generally, the difference between the rates of early admission and regular admission are small, suggesting that the timing of your application really doesn’t hold much weight. However, there are some colleges where there is a significant difference between admission rate, in particular in the case of binding early decision rates (as opposed to a non-binding early application) among mostly liberal arts colleges. For example, the early decision rate of American University is more than triple the rate of the regular decision rate.

In the case that you really would love to attend one of the colleges below over any other, then an early application could potentially increase you chances.


College ED Admit rate RD Admit rate Difference
American University     84.7% 25.9% 58.8%
Amherst College 39.6% 13.8% 25.8%
Bucknell University 59.7% 29.9% 29.7%
Carleton College 56.3% 22.6% 33.6%
Colby College 49.5% 29.9% 19.6%
Columbia University
Claremont McKenna College
Dickinson College 71.0% 22.6% 48.4%
Grinnell College 47.4% 22.5% 24.9%
Haverford College 51.3% 21.4% 29.9%
Lehigh University 59.9% 26.1% 33.8%
Middlebury College 41.9% 16.1% 25.7%
Northwestern University  33.3% 10.7% 22.7%
Oberlin College 62.6% 28.0% 34.6%
Trinity College 59.3% 33.4% 25.9%
Washington University in St. Louis 37.6% 16.5% 21.0% 
Wesleyan University 38.5% 17.8% 20.7%

If you are considering applying early but need help with choosing a college to apply early to, or need help with college admissions in general then consider Empowerly´s services. Sign up below for a free consultation.


Questions? Let us know!