Updated Statistics on Early Decision & Need Met

One of the most frustrating problems for high school parents during the college planning process is the lack of quality data. Sadly, some parents spend hours (or even days) assembling statistics from college websites and guide books.

Our colleagues Jennie Kent and Jeff Levy have released their 2017 analysis, with the latest statistics in two areas that can be critical in the college planning process:

There are two trends that we'd suggest families consider in their planning, based on this data:

We Live in An Early World

As noted in an earlier post, for better or worse, we live in an Early Decision world. Many highly selective colleges, including Vanderbilt, Pomona, Emory, Johns Hopkins, and Northwestern, fill nearly half of their classes via the Early Decision pool. And the acceptance rates are often significantly higher during the early decision round of admissions. The data from Jennie & Jeff points out some particularly high ratios of Early Decision Acceptance Rate to Regular Decision Acceptance Rate:

  • University of Pennsylvania (3.3x Early Decision to Regular Decision)
  • Middlebury College (3.4x)
  • Claremont McKenna College (4.7x)
  • Swarthmore College (3.1x)
  • Vanderbilt University (2.65x)
  • American University (3.7 to 1)

The Need Met Gap Between Public Universities and Private Colleges

As parents evaluate affordability, they often evaluate the average need met by colleges and universities for schools on their lists. The analysis of last year's financial aid data indicates that the widest range of disparities in percentage need met exists between public universities or somewhat selective private colleges. The analysis by Jennie & Jeff by category of school underscores this:

  • Highly selective colleges (Ivies and their immediate peers) can often meet 100% of domestic applicants’ demonstrated need. For example, Duke, Harvey Mudd, Middlebury College, MIT and Pitzer College were among the highly selective schools that reported 100% need in 2016.
  • Selective private colleges generally meet between 60% to 100% of domestic applicants’ demonstrated need. For example, American University reported 73% need met, Baylor 65%, TCU 66%, SMU 85%, Case Western 83%, Grinnell 100%, and Sewanee 82%.
  • Public universities reported meeting between 45% to 99% of domestic applicants’ demonstrated need. For example, University of Texas-Austin reported 70% need met, Texas A&M 72%, Colorado - Boulder 81%, Colorado State 80%.