By Kelsey Overbey
By 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 15, 232 eager early decision applicants (141 female and 91 male) had already clicked “submit,” placing their fates in the hands of people like Director of Admissions Darryl Uy.
According to Uy, this year’s crop of ED1 candidates surpassed last year’s total of 198. The numbers, however, are not very telling when it comes to predicting next year’s class size.
“[A]fter ED1 and ED2, we will know how many spots in the class have been filled, which will then help us determine how many students we’ll need to admit during regular decision in order to enroll a class of 465 first years,” Uy wrote in an email.
As though the application process were not stressful enough for high school seniors, this year’s new Common Application website has been especially prone to glitches, which has caused some schools to push back their ED deadlines. Uy noted that Kenyon “[has not] had many complaints,” but Admissions still made a point to communicate with applicants about the glitches, which prompted most ED1 applicants to “not wait [until] the last minute to submit their application in case they had to resolve any technical issues.”
The unusually large Class of 2017 raises questions about whether or not Admissions will have to admit a smaller Class of 2018, but Uy claimed this would not be the case.
“[Admissions will] probably admit the same number of students as we have in the past in order to reach our goal,” he said. “[Kenyon will] only be ﾑmore selective’ if the number of applications increases dramatically.” The Class of 2014, with 483 students remains the largest class to have ever been enrolled, since the original 484 students expected to join the Class of 2017 dropped to 480 by the first day of classes.
Uy also remained skeptical when it came to assertions that Admissions’ controversial decision to cut supplemental essays affected the amount or quantity of its ED1 candidates.
“Considering that ED is binding, students must decide whether or not this is where they want to spend the next four years of their lives,” he said. “Therefore, I highly doubt that students based their decision to apply ED on the fact that [Admissions] eliminated the supplement this year.”
Students nonetheless expressed opinions about the supplement or lack thereof. “From a time perspective, it’s nice that I don’t have to write a supplement. But I also feel like a supplement is one of the few places in the Common App where you can directly control how you present yourself, so it would have been nice to have another place to show my personality to Admissions,” Anni Coonan, one of this year’s Kenyon ED1 applicants, wrote in an email.
Karlin Wong, another one of Kenyon’s ED applicants for the Class of 2018, said that she was “pretty indifferent” about the change.
The supplement may be a thing of the past, but Uy said that ED is here to stay, even though many argue that ED is less attainable for students who need to apply for financial aid. “We always advise students to apply during regular decision if financial aid will be a determining factor in their college choice,” Uy said.
Uy maintained that ED does not give students a substantially better chance of being admitted. “If a student doesn’t have the academic chops to be admitted in regular decision, we most likely wouldn’t take them in ED just because they applied ED,” he said.
Statistically, the College admits ED applicants at a higher rate. Other potential advantages of ED could include the relief that accompanies completely the college search early. Still, Uy urged to students to reserve ED only for a dream school.
“I once heard a student tell me that he was planning to apply ED, but he just didn’t know to which school yet,” he said. “That’s like saying that you are planning to get married, but you just don’t know to whom yet.”
The deadline for the second round of early decision rolls around on Jan. 15, when Uy and his colleagues in Admissions will welcome another batch of applicants for the Class of 2018 before the regular decision deadline on May 1.