Half of seniors finish college process early, most in 12 years


Isabella Ciriello, Staff Writer

This year, nearly half of the senior class completed their college process in the early rounds, the highest number in the Director of College Counseling (CoCo) Cahn Oxelson’s 12 years at the school. That number could climb even higher in the coming weeks as students commit to Early Action (EA) schools.

Every fall, seniors decide whether to apply early to their top choice schools. The early round includes Early Decision I (ED I), Restricted Early Action (REA), and Early Action (EA)., due in November with results out December through January. ED is binding, meaning students can only apply ED to one school and must attend if accepted. REA and EA are non-binding, the difference being that students can only apply to one REA school.

In January, select colleges also offer Early Decision II (ED II) with decisions released in mid-February through the start of March. Students submit Regular Decision (RD) applications at the same time and hear back throughout April. 

CoCo has always emphasized colleges’ priorities during the admissions process to increase students’ chances of acceptance. For instance, some colleges enroll half of the class through ED I and II, so CoCo urges interested students to submit early applications there instead of applying RD.

Each year, they anticipate that approximately one third of students will be accepted, one third deferred (meaning their applications will be reviewed again in the RD round), and one third denied from their early schools. This year, 91 out of 183 students in the Class of 2023 were accepted to their ED I or II school, or have been accepted and committed to an EA or REA school. “We have never been close to [50% ED II acceptances]. We usually say our expectation is that we’re going to be about 35%, maybe closer to 40%.”

This is a significant admissions shift from the 2022-23 school year when three students were not admitted anywhere by May, and four students did not want to attend any of the schools where they were accepted. Oxelson believes that this year’s seniors learned from the Class of 2022’s admission obstacles. “They listened to us in a different way than previous classes have.”

Oxelson is glad many students have finished early because they can feel more relaxed and engaged for the rest of their senior year, he said. “When you’re worried about college throughout the entire school year, it can be a challenge, and to have so many students done at this point, it feels like they get their senior year back.”