Class Half Full

Northwestern now accepts more students through its early decision program than ever before.

By Alyssa Wisnieski


The University accepted 1,011 students early decision this year, which makes up 49 percent of the total class of 2019.

Early Decision: binding

Early Action: non-binding


“We always wanted a high yield, because the higher the yield, the greater draw the school has. It gives you higher ranking, it gives you more interest with donors and athletes and increases the reputation of the institution.”
- Drusilla Blackman, former dean of admissions, Columbia

“During early decision, certain preferences are given to legacies, athletes or kids whose parents are tied to the university."
- Sung Lee, co-founder at Solomon Admissions Consulting

“I think a lot of students are looking critically at applying early. Also, they may see ED as attractive because it alleviates stress early on.”
- Bari Norman, college consultant at Expert Admissions

“The push to ED has an impact on the senior year. There’s stress on the child to fall in love with the school without taking the time to really figure out if they like every aspect of it or not.”
- Maria Steiner, associate director of college counseling, Hawken School (Ohio)


University of Chicago:

Early action applicants increased from 3,777 for the Class of 2013 to 11,403 for the Class of 2019

University of Pennsylvania:

Early decision applicants increased from 3,631 for the Class of 2013 to 5,390 for the Class of 2019


There is a 20 to 30 percent increase in acceptance probability for early applicants compared to those applying regular decision.

Sources: The Daily Pennsylvanian, American Economic Review, University press releases, The Chicago Maroon