Early Decision Acceptance Rates for the Class of 2028

16/07/202412 minute read
Early Decision Acceptance Rates for the Class of 2028

Considering making Early Decision options part of your college admissions strategy? Want to know more about Early Decision acceptance rates at top schools? Below you’ll discover Early Decision rates for Ivy League and other highly selective schools in the US for the Class of 2028. With the admissions landscape as competitive as it has ever been, an Early Decision application strategy could give you an edge,. Use the information below to help you decide if applying ED is the right choice for your circumstances.


Applying to the Ivies and other elite universities puts you into some very competitive arenas, with tens of thousands of motivated young scholars aspiring each year to get into top colleges with limited spots.

It’s not just the Ivy League schools either… A handful of top-ranking US institutions — non Ivies —- are also very selective.

Among these institutions, several offer Early Decision admissions options, which thousands of students apply under each year, for various reasons, but often to take advantage of acceptance rates that are higher than for Regular Decision cycles.

Below you’ll find more information about Early Decision statistics for the Class of 2028. Knowing how much Early Decision rates differ from regular decision rates should help you fill in one more piece of your decision making puzzle if you're contemplating an Early Decision application strategy, presumably for your top-choice school.

At the end, we’ll offer some tips for planning your next steps, with a brief overview of ED policies and related application strategies, along with links to other helpful posts that could help you make informed decisions for your college journey.

Class of 2028 Early Decision Admissions Results

The results are in! At least results from most schools are in.

However, we have to accept that some schools report statistics later than others, or elect not to report them.

Ivy League Early Decision Acceptance Rates

Acceptance rates at Ivy League schools have been the lowest on record over the past three years. At Crimson, we've found that an Early Decision application strategy can be one part of a comprehensive strategy that helps students beat the odds in such a competitive landscape.

But how high are Early Decision acceptance rates for the Class of 2028 at top schools? After all, before you commit to an ED strategy, you'll want think through the potential pros and cons.

Here's a look at recent Early Decision statistics for the Ivy League schools that offer this application option, based on available data and in some cases estimates:

Class of 2028 Ivy League Early Decision Acceptance Rates
UniversityNumber of ED ApplicantsAdmittedClass of 2028 ED Acceptance RateClass of 2027 ED Acceptance Rate
Brown6,77087914.4%13%
Columbia6,009751*12.5%*11.3%
Dartmouth3,00957817%19%
Cornellnanana17.6%
Penn8,5001,190*14%*15.6% (class of 2026)

* Figures based on estimates

Class of 2028 Early Decision Acceptance Rates at Top-Ranked Universities (non-Ivies)

Admissions is also highly competitive at the universities and colleges ranking among the top 25 nationally. Of those, the ones that have early decision admissions options include schools such as Johns Hopkins, Duke, Rice, and more.

It’s always important to remember that applying ED involves a binding commitment to attend if accepted, but in the right circumstances, applying ED and adhering to other strategies used by top applicants will typically boost your chances for admissions. The table below shows you exactly how high acceptance rates ranged at top schools for Early Decision applicants to the Class of 2028.

Class of 2028 Early Decision Acceptance Rates (non-Ivies)
UniversityNumber of ED ApplicantsAdmittedClass of 2028 ED Acceptance RateClass of 2027 ED Acceptance Rate
Duke (ED)4,85580013%16.4%
Johns Hopkins (ED1)2,70053319.5%19.7%
Northeastern (ED)3,00060020%38.5%
Rice (ED)2,88688715.32%16.5%
Vanderbilt (ED1/2)5,835886*15.2%16.9%
Emory (ED1)2,70486432%32%

* Figures based on estimates

Early Decision results for the Class of 2028 and 2027 show that the acceptance rates for ED admissions are significantly higher than Regular Decision rates, but still highly selective.

In addition, ED rates from last year to this haven't changed significantly at most top schools, suggesting results for the Class of 2028 are likely to be a reliable guide for estimating ED acceptance rates at your dream school if you're applying next year.

Hundreds of thousands of high-achieving students apply to the Ivy League each year, and the numbers are growing! Over the past three years the number of applicants applying to Ivy League schools has topped 400,000. And, most Ivy League schools have overall acceptance rates hovering below 8%, with Harvard's dipping to a record-low 3.2% for the Class of 2026 (two years ago).

Cornell University and Penn receive the most applications each year, numbering well over 60,000.

Dartmouth University is the Ivy League school that receives the least amount of applications. This year Dartmouth received 31,657 applications.

The chart below highlights the trend in the number of applications to all eight Ivy League schools over the last ten years.

Total number of students applying to Ivy League Schools past 10 years

Is Applying Early Decision Worth It?

Applying Early Decision (ED) typically involves a binding agreement: you must enroll if admitted and withdraw all other applications. On top of that, to apply ED you obviously have the added stress of meeting the earlier application deadline, usually around November 1st.

So why do students apply ED?

It can be a great way to help your application get noticed because your commitment demonstrates your strong interest in attending the school.

And, as we've just seen, ED acceptance rates can be 2x or 3x higher, or more, compared to Regular Decision acceptance rates.

What Is Early Decision vs. Early Action?

Just like Early Decision, Early Action (EA) requires applying on an earlier timeline than Regular Decision rounds, but Early Action does NOT involve a binding commitment if you are accepted, in the way applying ED does.

Some Ivy Leagues and other top schools, like those featured in the tables above, offer Early Decision options, but others do not, typically offering Early Action options instead. And, some schools offer two ED timelines, not just one, while others offer both an ED and an EA option!

Check out Your Guide to Early Applications to The Ivy League to learn more.

How to Decide If Early Decision Is Worth It?

Choosing to apply Early Decision involves a commitment if you're admitted, so it's worth considering all your options carefully.

There are also some downsides. If you're accepted elsewhere you have to reject those offers, and your options for financial aid may be more limited as well.

When applying to highly selective schools, an ED strategy can provide many students a significant edge, but it should be used alongside other effective strategies that help top applicants stand out.

Want more help making important decisions for your college journey? Check out these resources:

What Is a Good SAT Score?

What Is a Good ACT Score?

US College Admissions Calculator

How Can a College Admissions Counselor Help You with Your College Application?

Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision Explained

Final Thoughts

With university acceptance rates at their lowest and application numbers at their highest, you're smart to be keeping your eyes on other acceptance rates that may be more favorable.

You now know that several Ivy League schools and a handful of other stellar institutions in the US offer an ED option.

Applying ED is only a fitting strategy for some applicants, however. And when used, it should be part of a personalized plan and one component among other essential strategies, all essential to making your application stand out.

Working with a Crimson academic advisor is an optimal way to get insights into early application strategies and other important decisions points for your college journey.

If you want to learn more, it's easy to get started. Signing up for a free feedback session with a Crimson strategist is usually the best next step and an easy and convenient way to find out more about the Crimson network and our personalized approach.

Congratulations, Students! From Crimson Strategists