Early decision applicants up 18.2 percent

Dalia Naamani-Goldman

Northwestern’s undergraduate early decision applications rose 18.2 percent this year, continuing a multi-year trend, a university official said this week.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission received 1,236 applications by the Nov. 1 deadline — nearly 200 applications more than were received last year — according to Associate Provost for Enrollment Rebecca Dixon. Those students who applied early decision will receive acceptances, rejections or deferrals by Dec. 15.

“Perhaps some of the intense interest in early decision that we have noted on the ‘coasts’ has caught on more here in the Midwest,” Dixon wrote in an e-mail. “Also, Admissions noticed more enthusiasm and interest generally from visitors over the past year, so there might be an upward tick in applications anyway.”

It is too early to know whether that trend will continue with regular decision, Dixon wrote.

Applying early decision allows students to know early in the year whether they are admitted to a university. Students who apply early decision to a school must attend if accepted.

Regular-decision applicants must submit applications by Jan. 1 to receive decisions by April 15.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, early decision admissions policies were created to help a number of high-achieving students secure places at universities earlier in the year. Early decision recently has become more popular because it saves students time from applying to several schools. Some universities also offer an advantage to students who apply early by accepting a greater percentage of them, because the policy allows schools to secure a group of committed students.

Yale University officials made changes to the school’s early decision policy in December 200 that took effect this year. Students who apply early there now cannot apply early decision anywhere else, although they can apply regular decision to other schools. They also are not bound to attend Yale if they are accepted through the early decision process.

Amanda Palleschi, of Minnetonka, Minn., said she thought applying early to NU would increase her chances of being admitted. Spending a summer as a Cherub at the Medill School of Journalism and visiting NU this fall convinced her she wanted to apply here early.

“I knew Northwestern was my first choice,” Palleschi said, “and I would go in a heartbeat.”

Kurt Yoller, a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, N.H., said he thought applying early decision would give him “an edge.” Several of his friends also applied early to various schools early because they believe they have a better chance of being accepted. Yoller said he now is anxiously awaiting NU’s response.

“We talk about it a lot,” he said. “Only 25 more days.”

Correction: Name misspelled (November 21, 2003)

A story in Thursday’s Daily about early decision misspelled the name of prospective student Kurt Soller. The Daily regrets the error.