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Early Action/Decision vs. Regular Decision Admission Rates

Here’s a fact that may surprise you—college admissions offices will be sweating every bit as much as college applicants during this college application season. While anxiety-filled students are praying for acceptance into their first-choices schools, equally nervous admissions directors are trying desperately to ensure that they meet their enrollment targets in the spring. Amazingly, the majority of colleges fail to meet this goal and they are pining for strong candidates that are willing to commit to their school. This is why applying early decision, which is binding, can be a strategic advantage for applicants. Below you will find the ED admission rates and regular decision rates for some of the most prestigious schools in the United States. Where applicable, we included non-binding, early action admission rates as well.

The following table compares Early Action/Decision vs. Regular Decision admission rates at America’s most selective colleges and universities. Data was collected from the College Board and institutional websites and is for the 2015-2016 admission cycle, the most recent cycle for which data is made available.

InstitutionEarly Action
Admission Rate
Early Decision
Admission Rate
Regular Decision
Admission Rate
American University87.00%32.40%
Amherst College36.00%12.80%
Barnard College35.20%19.60%
Bates College50.30%21.80%
Boston College27.40%28.50%
Boston University43.00%32.30%
Bowdoin College26.10%13.00%
Brandeis University35.00%33.90%
Brown University20.00%8.30%
Bryn Mawr College50.00%37.30%
Bucknell University53.00%22.50%
California Institute of Technology13.60%6.60%
Carleton College31.00%19.50%
Carnegie Mellon University29.00%23.40%
Case Western Reserve University32.00%49.00%26.20%
Claremont McKenna College25.00%9.30%
Colby College43.00%20.80%
Colgate University47.00%25.30%
College of the Holy Cross78.00%34.20%
College of William and Mary50.00%33.20%
Colorado College30.00%23.40%9.50%
Columbia University19.00%4.80%
Connecticut College70.00%37.80%
Cooper Union30.00%11.80%
Cornell University26.00%13.70%
Dartmouth College26.00%9.50%
Davidson College48.00%18.60%
Dickinson College50.10%77.00%39.50%
Duke University23.60%11.80%
Emory University30.00%22.90%
Franklin & Marshall College61.00%29.80%
George Washington University69.00%45.20%
Georgetown University13.30%19.40%
Georgia Institute of Technology45.50%22.10%
Grinnell College47.40%24.90%
Hamilton College38.00%23.10%
Harvard University14.80%5.60%
Harvey Mudd College18.00%12.40%
Haverford College46.00%22.30%
Johns Hopkins University29.00%11.90%
Kenyon College58.00%21.90%
Lafayette College49.00%28.30%
Lehigh University58.00%28.10%
Macalester College53.00%38.50%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology8.40%8.30%
Middlebury College33.00%15.60%
Mount Holyoke College50.00%50.10%
New York University29.00%34.10%
North Carolina State University53.60%43.40%
Northeastern University31.00%28.40%
Northwestern University38.00%11.00%
NR = Not Reported
Oberlin College54.00%27.00%
Occidental College41.00%45.00%
Ohio State University66.10%32.00%
Pitzer College29.00%11.80%
Pomona College15.00%9.50%
Princeton University19.90%5.00%
Reed College51.90%30.10%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute65.00%41.10%
Rhodes College79.40%53.50%
Rice University20.00%15.60%
Santa Clara University53.90%76.00%37.20%
Sarah Lawrence College64.00%52.80%
Scripps College47.00%26.20%
Sewanee: University of the South50.50%75.00%18.40%
Skidmore College67.00%34.90%
Smith College57.00%36.20%
Southern Methodist University30.00%50.10%
Stanford University10.20%4.00%
Swarthmore College36.00%10.70%
Trinity College69.00%31.20%
Tufts University39.00%13.60%
Tulane University38.60%13.70%
Union College61.50%38.30%
University of Chicago
University of Miami48.60%39.00%29.00%
University of Michigan
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill39.10%18.90%
University of Notre Dame38.90%15.10%
University of Pennsylvania24.00%7.80%
University of Richmond42.00%30.20%
University of Rochester49.10%33.80%
University of Virginia30.20%29.40%
Vanderbilt University23.00%10.30%
Vassar College43.10%25.80%
Villanova University45.20%51.00%
Wake Forest University43.00%28.00%
Washington and Lee University39.60%22.10%
Washington University37.60%15.50%
Wellesley College44.30%29.00%
Wesleyan University42.00%22.20%
Whitman College76.00%41.20%
Williams College37.00%15.50%
Yale University16.00%7.90%
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