In a drop back down from last year’s record high of 93.4 percent, the number of seniors submitting early college applications hit only 89 percent this fall, Upper School Dean Beth Slattery said.
“Last year might have been an anomaly,” Slattery said. “I think it’s always from now on going to hover in the 85 to 95 percent range, unless anything changes dramatically.”
This year’s number of early applicants compared more closely to that of the 2012-2013 school year, which was 88 percent. Though the percentage of early applicants dropped, the same 49 percent of students applied to schools early decision as last year.
“We do have some recruited athletes who are not going through the early process because that’s the way the school wanted them to, but I also think there’s just kids deciding to be more patient about the process,” Slattery said.
“There’s no problem waiting,” Kristen Lynem-Wilson ’15 said.
Both of her top choice schools took only early decision applications this round, and she couldn’t pick just one of the two. So as soon as she heard she had the option, she decided not to apply anywhere early, Lynem-Wilson said. She didn’t consider applying to any early action schools, even though they are non-binding.
Both her dean and her parents agreed with her. “I’m not ashamed to not be applying early or anything,” Lynem-Wilson said. “It was not like, ‘You didn’t apply early? What’s wrong with you?’”
Lynem-Wilson knew a few of her friends were opting out of the early round, too, and she said it allowed her more time to work on regular round applications. Now, she’s almost done with all of her submissions.
“You have a better chance at least from our school if you apply regular,” Lynem-Wilson said. She said she thinks that while applying early pits Harvard-Westlake students against others from the same school, the regular applicant pools are less competitive.
As in recent years, the University of Michigan was the most popular school among early applicants by far.
Brown University ranked sixth most popular among Harvard-Westlake seniors as its first time on the list this year.
Case Western Reserve University also made a first-time appearance.