For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display 664px sign saying common application membership
Apr 02 2016
by Taylor Lang

How Early Decision Can Give Wealthier Students An Advantage

By Taylor Lang - Apr 02 2016

According to The Washington Post, the college system of early decision is creating an advantage for wealthier students. The reason: financial aid.

For students who require financial aid to go to school, it is important to look at what each of the schools that were applied to will give. The amount of money that people end up having to pay for their schooling is a huge deciding factor. This makes early decision impossible for a lot of people.

With early decision, students apply to a college and are bound there if accepted. They aren’t able to compare financial aid that is given from different schools. Because of this, most people who need to compare money in order to go to college enroll during regular decision.


The problem comes when colleges enroll more than 40% of their incoming students on early decision. These students do not have to worry about money, so it is not an issue to fully commit to a school right off the bat. For the students who do need this time, though, there are a lot less spots to fill once early decision is done. They have a smaller chance because of the students who have already been admitted.


“The Post found 37 schools where the early-decision share of enrolled freshmen in 2015 was at least 40 percent. At Duke University, the share was 47 percent, and at the University of Pennsylvania, it was 54 percent.”

To see the chart with more information of different schools and their acceptances of early decision applicants, click here.

Another style of enrollment is being seen in a more favorable light. Early action is where students find out if they are admitted or not just as they do in early decision, but they do not have to commit until normal time, when all of the spots are filled at the same time. Students can actually enroll in some colleges with early action and others during regular enrollment if they wish. The system helps to relieve the advantages that some students have over others.


Georgetown University’s longtime dean of admissions, Charles Deacon, stated to the Post: “No matter what anybody tells you, the early pool favors those who are more advantaged. … They’re the ones who have been better advised. They know more from their families. There’s an advantage, for sure, and that plays itself out particularly at the early level.”

The ability to get into college should be equal no matter what monetary aid is needed. Yet, between SAT scores, early decision, and the ability to travel to different schools when trying to choose, it is still noticeable that there is a wealth gap that is affecting the students going into college.

Lead Image Credit: English; Tomwsulcer via Wikicommons

Want to write for Fresh U? Join now
Want more Fresh U? Like us on Facebook!
Taylor Lang - Syracuse University

Taylor is a Broadcast and Digital Journalism Major at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She started writing and editing as a freshman for Fresh U. From there, she began to help create and expand the News and Multimedia Departments. When not doing something relating to journalism, she LOVES Disney and reading while sipping hot tea. She hopes to inspire others to follow their passions and do what makes them happy.

Most Popular