Senior Ellen Hou received the first college acceptance of the year last week, earning an offer from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Ellen applied early to SCAD, a top art college with a nationally recognized equestrian team.
Last year, Ellen was the recipient of both the J.B. Close Award for excellence in outdoor education and the Sandy Ballou Award for excellence in the high school equestrian program. SCAD is among her top choice schools based on her combined interests in art and equestrian.
This fall, half of the 22 seniors in her class have applied Early Decision (binding) or Early Action (non-binding) to their top choice colleges, including George Washington University, Boston University, Northeastern University, Bates College, Southern Methodist University, Cal Lutheran University, Penn State University and the Parsons School of Design.
“There’s no way to know for certain what the large number of ED and EA applicants says about the college counseling process at OVS, but I’d like to think it shows how well they are being prepared to apply for college,” OVS College Counselor Fred Alvarez said. “From our emphasis on a rigorous college prep curriculum to their mandatory enrollment the second half of their junior year in a bi-weekly college counseling class, most of our students have laid a solid foundation for preparing and submitting their college applications before the start of their senior year.”
The advantage to students applying Early Action and Early Decision is that they have some certainty — and relief — if they get positive news. But there are other advantages as well, especially since applying Early Decision and Early Action acceptance rates are generally higher than Regular Decision acceptance rates.
“For NYU last year, for example, the overall admit rate was roughly 28% while ED candidates were admitted at a rate of roughly 38%,” Alvarez said. “Those accepted students are then first in line when it comes to being considered for scholarships and financial aid.”
In addition to working with students during the school year, Alvarez works with students over the summer, between their junior and senior years, reading and editing their college essays and answering questions about financial aid and the application process. By the time they set foot on campus as seniors, many of them have the tools and confidence necessary to apply Early Decision and Early Action if they choose.
“ED and EA aren’t for every student, but it’s a fantastic option for students who ready and want to pursue that path,” Alvarez said.
As for the rest of the Class of 2018, students are preparing to apply to a wide range of schools nationwide. While those college lists can and will change, as it stands students have indicated that they intend to apply to more than 200 colleges and universities.
Those schools include several University of California campuses, including UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara, as well as several Cal State University schools. Applications are also being submitted to numerous private colleges, including Stanford University, Brown University, NYU, Brandeis University, Emerson College, Fordham University, Lewis and Clark College, Reed College, Occidental College, Pomona College, and USC.
The Early Decision deadline passed on Nov. 1, and most Early Action deadlines are between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15. Most students are now working on UC and CSU applications, which are due Nov. 30.