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College Admission Trends for the Rising Class of 2023

Every January we not only review our student’s success with early decision/early action but also the nationwide statistics to detect trends in admission. Once again, this year, our student’s successfully gained entrance to their top choice schools through the early decision process. As has been the trend for the last several years, more students are applying in the early round than ever before, making this early decision/early action round ever more competitive. In fact, the admission rates for early decision candidates are dropping in direct proportion to the increase in number and quality of the applicants applying early decision. Binding early decision programs will admit 45-50% of the incoming class which allows them to build a strong foundation in their freshman students.


Diversity of background continues to be a priority in the early decision selection process. For instance, at Dartmouth “hooks” played a major role in early decision admission with 1/3 of the students being of color, 14% are the first in their family to attend college, 20% were legacies and 25% were recruited athletes.


Brown University admitted 46% of its freshman class through early decision. Only 18% of the 4,230 early decision applicants were admitted making this their most competitive early applicant pool to date. Similarly, Duke saw a 20 % increase in early decision applications causing a drop in the acceptance rate. Duke filled 51% of the freshman class through early decision with 46% of those accepted being students of color. Rice University saw a 39% increase in early decision applicants and their admission rate dropped to 15.5%.


The trends suggest that early decision applicants are hoping to increase their chances of admission to the nation’s top colleges by applying in the early round. However, as the early decision applicant pool grows it also becomes more competitive causing a drop in the admissions rate. In addition, colleges seem to be using binding early decision to insure diversity in its freshman class.


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