The holiday season is in full gear with families preparing for festivities surrounding Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more. High school seniors are not as much concerned with logging onto the internet for Cyber Monday or getting to the local mall for the latest deal. Instead, they’re excitedly and at the same time, anxiously awaiting the news of an early college decision. Increasingly, the collegebound are applying to schools under some type of early admissions option.  Choices vary among several models including non-restrictive early action, restrictive early action, priority early action, binding early decision, and more. According to articles from the New York Times and Inside Higher Ed, fall applications are up at Vanderbilt (30%), Bucknell (30%), Northwestern (24%), George Washington (20%), UPenn (18%), Lehigh (14%), Duke (14%), Johns Hopkins (14%), Dartmouth (14%), Georgetown (9%), and Boston College (7%).  Why such increases? Students want the relief of knowing they’re in; the ability to celebrate with the early winter news of “Welcome to the Class of 2010” without waiting until March/April of next year.  Applicants also are keenly aware of statistics indicating that schools accept, in some cases, more than 30% of their prospective freshman from early decision pools.  Colleges are looking for a level of certainty in this continuing uncertain economy that residence hall beds will be filled next year; binding early decision offers just that with a commitment requirement. Colleges also can attract higher level students with the early option. In fact, University of Virginia recently announced the re-instatement of its early action admissions option in part because the college felt the best and the brightest want the choice. So, students and admissions officers alike are hoping to reap good news from “the most wonderful time of the year”.  Read more about the direction of early admissions at,

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