Emory Report
February 21, 2005
Volume 57, Number 20


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February 21, 2005
Record applicant pool yields early admissions

BY eric rangus

Emory received a record number of early decision applicants for the 2005–06 academic year, as prospective
freshmen jockeyed for position to be the first members of the Class of 2009.

Early Decision I applications rose by more than 14 percent (up to 617 from 539 for the 2004–05 academic year), and Early Decision II applications were up 22 percent (440 from 361). A total of 516 students were admitted altogether—361 students after round one and 155 in round two.

Despite the record number of applications, Emory admitted roughly the same amount of students through early decision as in 2004. “Our goal was not to admit a greater number of applicants,” said Dan Walls, dean of admission. “The students were just as good, but we could be a bit more selective.”

He added that the popularity of early decision application is a harbinger of things to come; the admissions office received a record 11,218 applications last year and is on track to top that figure in 2005.

Early decision is offered to students who have selected Emory as their first choice and want to receive an admission decision early in the calendar year. Students who apply for early decision can apply only to Emory, and that application is ethically binding—if accepted, they are obligated to attend. More than 96 percent actually do. A lack of financial aid often is the only acceptable reason for not enrolling.

“It takes a lot of pressure off students to know that they already have been admitted,” Walls said. “They know where they will be going to school and won’t have to pace back and forth in front of the mailbox waiting for admission letters.”

The application process is a partnership among the University, prospective students, their parents and high school guidance counselors. If a student completes an early decision application to Emory, many high schools will not forward transcripts to other schools.

Binding early decision agreements are not exclusive to Emory. Vanderbilt and Duke universities, to name two, have similar programs. Some Ivy League institutions and large, public universities like the University of Georgia offer “early action,” where prospective students can be admitted early, but they still can apply to other institutions.

Emory offers two rounds of early decision. The first round concluded Dec. 15, 2004, and the second on Feb. 1. The second round was added several years ago after many prospective students said the office’s early decision application deadline of Nov. 15 was too early.

Just under 49 percent of early decision applicants were accepted this year—that’s quite a bit higher than the roughly 38 percent of all applicants who were accepted in 2004 (only around 11 percent of those applicants enrolled at the University), but that doesn’t necessarily mean a student applying through early decision has a better chance of getting in simply because his or her application is in the mail sooner.

According to Walls, early decision students represent the best of the best high school students; their GPAs and test scores are higher, therefore their admission chances are better. “These students have done their research about colleges,” he said. “They are the cream of the crop.”

Prospective students who are not offered early decision admission are not necessarily rejected. While many are, some students’ applications may be deferred to the regular decision plan with an admission notification date of April 1. If a student is not granted admission, high schools that had held back transcripts will release them.