Out of the 4,551 early action applications that Stanford received for the Class of 2012, 16 percent have been admitted – 738 candidates. They have until May 1 to decide whether or not to enroll.

Another round of acceptances will be sent out in the beginning of April. Last year, Stanford received approximately 24,000 applications for about 1675 spots.


Yale admitted 885 students to the Class of 2012 in the early action round that has candidates submitting applications by November 1 and decisions made by mid-December. With Harvard and Princeton bowing out of the early admissions picture this year, Yale’s early pool swelled to 4,888 applications, an increase of 36% over last year’s early pool. By all accounts, early pools contain the strongest students. As a result, this has been considered by many to be the most difficult time ever to be accepted at Yale. Understandably, many students with Harvard or Princeton as first-choice, who normally would have applied early to those colleges if they had retained their early admission programs, may have chosen to apply to Yale early, since the decision is non-binding. Accepted students do not have to respond until May 1.


Duke’s early decision program fielded 1,247 applications to the Class of 2012 this year, and accepted 472 of them, 233 women and 239 men, an acceptance rate of 37.9 percent.

Duke’s program is binding, with candidates agreeing when applying that they would attend if accepted.



The best colleges these days are not looking for a well-rounded student. They are looking for a well-rounded student body. There’s a big difference.

A well-rounded student body requires a variety of students with individual strengths, as opposed to individual students with a variety of strengths. A student with depth of talent or commitment in one or two areas may be much more appealing than a student with a bit of talent or a scattered commitment in many areas.

For example, in any particular year a college may be seeking students with passion and achievement in writing to fill anticipated openings in the school’s newspaper and literary journals. Or they may need soccer players – a goalie, in particular – since graduation will claim half of the starting team. Or they may seek students who have shown a passion for politics to fill spots in student government. Students with a passion a mile deep in one particular area will be much more desirable than students with a passion an inch deep in 10 different areas.

How does this play out in admissions? For candidates, the advice is simple: in your application, present as much of a singular profile as possible. It’s fine if you were involved in 10 extracurricular activities in the past few years, but choose the one or two that have interested you the most and every chance you get, emphasize their importance in your life.

If, for example, playing the oboe is your true love, talk about it, describe that passion in one of the essays in the Common Application, describe how you feel when you play it, explain how you got to perform with the local symphony orchestra, mention your oboe-playing idols and say why you like them. By letting the admissions office see the depth of your love for the instrument, you will stand out in the crowd, and with such intense competition these days in college admissions, standing out in the crowd is a path to the thick envelope.