As Early Admissions Rise, So Does Pressure

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INSIDE THE MIND OF THE CONTEMPORARY EARLY BIRD

When Bryan T. Stromer, a graduate of the the New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies and current freshman at Vanderbilt, started his college search, he noticed pressure among top students to apply early. Although Stromer said that his school sent students to a variety of places, the students applying to elite universities often felt a stronger push to apply early.

“The people applying to [elite universities] felt pressure to apply early just because how competitive it is to get into those...and with the lower rank schools, people felt they could wait,” Stromer said.

Stromer, who chronicled his admissions process on The Choice blog for The New York Times, added that many students felt that applying early offered them an opportunity to be viewed in more depth by admissions officers than if they were to apply regular in a pool of tens of thousands of students.

“Just logistically, the early application is always less than the regular admissions pool, but it’s the same number of staff looking [at applications],” Stromer said. “If you ask the admissions counselor they will probably say no, but it makes sense to me that they would have more time per application to review [early].”

High School admissions counselors and experts said that they observed a similar sentiment among students they advise.

Kristen A. Learner, the director of college counseling at The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Fla., said that her staff tries to get to know students early on and start the discussion sooner rather than later to ensure students can apply to a school they feel is the “right fit.”

“At a college preparatory school where 100 percent of students go to college, the conversation is there early on,” said Learner, adding that she encourages students to apply when they “put their best foot forward,” whether that be early or regular.

Jeffrey Wong, another counselor at The Benjamin School and former admissions offer at Brandeis University, said that it is evident that many schools have higher acceptance rates during their early programs than during their regular programs.

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