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Princeton Cancels Early Action Applications for Class of 2025

JUN 23, 2020 • 7 min read

In the latest adjustment to usual application processes and calendars due to COVID-19, this week Princeton University announced it will be axing their early action round for the class of 2025, moving to one application round (regular) only.

Princeton announced that: “the University will move to one undergraduate application deadline of Jan. 1, 2021, for this first-year admission cycle. All applicants will apply using either the Coalition Application or Common Application through the Regular Decision process and will receive decisions on their applications by April 1, 2021.”

The announcement came in conjunction with Princeton’s decision to pause the requirement for standardized test scores for their 2020-21 application cycle. While Princeton seems to be following in the footsteps of other universities here, they seem to be one of the first to abolish early-round applications.

It will be interesting whether other universities follow this trend - and we will be sure to keep you updated on our blog.

For those unacquainted with the regular admissions process at Princeton, there are usually two deadlines for university applications; early action and regular decision. Early action applications are due in early November, and students are restricted from applying to just one Ivy League university. Students will then receive their notification in mid-December, enabling them to accept their offer early if desired.

Note also that other universities have different early-round application policies. Princeton adopts a policy like Harvard and Yale (there are very few early action university options for international students) and has non-binding early action applications. Therefore students have the choice to accept or reject their early application acceptance. On the other hand, many other universities have binding early decision applications, and by applying early, students are committing to attend the school if accepted.

Princeton justifies their decision by suggesting that the move will reduce some of the pressure on applicants, and will give them the time to prepare their strongest applications. Inevitably this decision will have an impact on students' application strategies and will remove many of the advantages that may come with an early action application.

Generally speaking, early-round applications come with higher chances of admission. While Princeton never fully released their figures to calculate their early acceptance rate for the class of 2024, based on their previous early acceptance rates it is speculated to be about 14%. This of course is significantly higher than their overall acceptance rate of 5.55%.

For other universities, the advantages of applying early are even higher. For example, Harvard’s early action acceptance rate is 14.87%, significantly higher than their regular round acceptance rate of 4.92%. Therefore if other colleges such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale join Princeton, the impact on their prospective admits’ application strategies is also likely to be profound.

In essence, the ultimate effect will be that given all Princeton applicants will now be in the one pool, students will need to make sure their applications stand out from the crowd.

Whether it be early action or regular round applications, students who get help from Crimson are 4x more likely to gain admission to an Ivy League university, and 3x more likely to gain admission to Stanford and MIT. Check out our admissions support program to find out what we can do to help your university application to top US and UK universities!

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