(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
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Obviously none of us know all of the nuances of an individual school's admissions process, but, judging by hundreds of past examples from this board alone, do there seem to be any schools where an ED or "Why X?" essay give an applicant a decent boost in chances? And, on the flip side, are there any schools where these two things seem to have a negligible benefit?
- Richie Tenenbaum
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SLS_AMG wrote:Obviously none of us know all of the nuances of an individual school's admissions process, but, judging by hundreds of past examples from this board alone, do there seem to be any schools where an ED or "Why X?" essay give an applicant a decent boost in chances? And, on the flip side, are there any schools where these two things seem to have a negligible benefit?
ED or "Why X" definitely helps at schools like Michigan, UVA, and Penn.
ED to Columbia didn't do too much for a lot of people a few cycles ago (not sure if it has changed in the last year though).
In general, ED is going to be pretty helpful and a strong "Why X?" can be helpful as well. Neither are going to be game changers though. ED to UVA might be one of the better ideas for a reverse splitter though (if a person is fine with paying sticker).
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ED is known to help applicants with borderline numbers (ex: above one median but not both). Why X essays can be beneficial, and some schools (Michigan, UVA, Penn, Duke) are known to particularly value them. Why X essays can also be a helpful way to avoid yield-protecting, since the essay shows your genuine desire to attend that school.
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I think that this year ED will help a lot more than other years. I only base this speculation on the dropping applicant numbers and the uncertainty that volatile applicant numbers can bring to yields. Most top schools aren't that worried about yields for ranking purposes, but they are very worried about them for purposes of planning their classes. No one wants an unexpected drop in class size because that just means facilities are underutilized and profits are lost. Too many students also has negative impacts.
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It is all my guess, but I think schools near the top. T10, non HYS give a significant boost for well-written why x essay and ED. I am probably in the minority on TLS but I do believe that a reasonable splitter can make it to those schools only if everything else in the app is flawless. That includes significant interest and commitment to a certain school that is evident through the application.
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