Biggest news yet this year–to me, at least

Last Updated on November 10, 2020 by Real College Matters

31 May 2019

While I can’t say I’m particularly surprised by it, UVA’s announcement yesterday that a (binding) Early Decision option will be introduced this fall nonetheless impacts my practice more than the college scandal or the College Board’s adversity scores combined. UVA is a perennial favorite among my students, so they will have some big decisions to make in advance of the application process.

Committing to enroll also means committing to pay whatever the university deems your expected contribution. $65,408 is the estimated sticker price for 2019-2020–so, figuring in perhaps a 3% increase per year, non-Virginia resident families with no demonstrated financial need will pay close to $70K in 2020-2021.

ED helps institutions safeguard their enrollment numbers as well as their discount rates. It helps applicants by boosting their chances for admission. (See graphics below.) Institutions tend not to speak plainly about the aggressive use of Early Decision in enrollment management; the ED option is perceived as a tool of the rich, and it looks bad for colleges when they cater to the relatively wealthy. Again, it’s a dynamic of institutional mixed messaging. “Talk like a school; act like a business.”

UVA’s adoption of the ED application is yet another sign that even the most popular colleges are concerned about their long-term performance in the marketplace. It’s well-documented that the college student population is in serious decline. Needless to say, those headlines don’t tend to show up in the glossy flyers arriving at your student’s doorstep, but they co-exist with the record low admit numbers. It’s a crazy world, College Admissions 2019, but-, as always, I contend that it can be navigated well through a focus on the student’s best interest.

Want to apply ED somewhere? Awesome. You’ll maximize your chances of a thorough and holistic application review.

Think ED is a bad idea for you? Great. Put your best foot forward anyway. Refuse to be just another applicant in a sea of 50,000. Armed with a great list, you’ll have a successful year.