Boston University saw a spike of more than 15 percent in early decision applications in 2013 compared to 2012, according to data released Tuesday.
BU Admissions received 1,742 early decision applications for the 2014-15 academic year, a 16.4 percent increase from the 2013-14 academic year’s total of 1,496 early decision applications, BU spokesman Colin Riley confirmed.
“It [the increase] reflects on the work of the admissions office and all the work they do throughout the year as they travel the country and speak to students, prospective students, councilors, teachers and administrators at school systems throughout the country and the world,” Riley said.
While the 16.4 percent jump is worth noting, admissions officials saw an even larger jump in early decision applicants during the previous application cycle between 2011 and 2012 at 40 percent, according to a Dec. 2012 Daily Free Press story.
“It’s unusual to see big movement,” Riley said. “That [the 40 percent jump] was unusual and probably reflected more on the individual cohort of students looking and talking to their counselors and faculty about whether they were interested in applying early decision or regular decision. So that was a big jump last year, and this is still a very significant increase.”
The choice to apply early decision reflects positively on prospective students, Riley said.
“It speaks to the individual applicant that the person has looked closely at the program that interests her or him and that, by applying early, they are making it known to the university that this is commitment they want to make,” he said.
In October, BU officials extended the early decision deadline from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15 due to technical issues with the online Common Application.
Philadelphia resident Sydnie Weeks, who applied early decision to BU’s School of Management, said she experienced some of the technical glitches on the Common App.
“It [the Common App] kept making typos in my application,” she said. “Also, it was really hard to get the essay in. It was a little bit inconvenient and it made the process a little harder.”
Weeks said she recommends early decision for applicants who are set on attending BU.
“It looks better [to admissions officials],” she said. “If it [BU] is your top choice, if you’re set on a college, if you’re 100 percent sure, I think that a person should do early decision.”
Carly Rose Willing, from Bartlett, Ill., said she applied early decision to BU’s College of Arts and Sciences to let Admissions officials know that BU was a priority for her.
“The biggest thing for me was that I really wanted to show that BU was my number one school — to show that I’m really interested in the school and that’s my top choice,” she said.
Willing said early decision applicants have a slight edge on the competition.
“Applying early decision, not only at BU but what I’ve heard from colleges that my friends are applying to, is that you get looked at first when it comes to merit-based scholarship,” she said. “Also, you get your decision before everybody else. You can figure everything else out. That way, you’re not waiting until March or April to find out where you’re going and make those plans.”
Suzie Hart, who lives on Cape Cod, said she applied early decision to CAS for similar reasons.
“You are looked at as a top candidate because the college knows that you really want to go there,” she said. “I have a better chance of being accepted, and I feel like I would have so much more benefit knowing this is the place I’m going. I get to figure out what I’m doing so much earlier than other kids.”
Hart said she is anxiously awaiting her decision letter, which is set to arrive Dec. 15.
“I love the university,” she said. “If I got in there, that would be a dream come true. So I’m really excited to find out.”