The number of Seniors applying early increased by an unprecedented 10 percent from last year, according to Sean Logan, Director of College Counseling. Eighty percent of the Class of 2013 applied to early action or early decision programs, compared to 70 percent of the Class of 2012. So far, 53 percent of early applicants have been admitted so far. However, there are still 96 pending admission decisions from colleges, so the College Counseling Office (CCO) has not yet obtained a final percentage, said Logan. There has also been a slight increase in the number of total early applications submitted per student. This year, 261 students submitted 489 early applications, up from last year’s 321 applications by 204 students. There are three kinds of early application programs. Students who apply to a restrictive early action college cannot apply anywhere else. Those applying to an early decision school can apply to other colleges but are bound to attending that school if accepted. Applicants to early action schools can apply to other schools and are not required to matriculate if accepted. Non-binding early action programs saw the greatest increase in Andover applicants, said Logan. He attributed this rise to changes in certain restrictive early action policies at Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University and Stanford University. In the past, students had been only able to apply to the restrictive early action school and their own state school. Now, students are permitted to apply to the restrictive early action school as well as any other state school. As of January 17, approximately 15 percent of the students who applied early have already committed to their schools, compared to last year’s 14 percent, said Logan. Students often apply to non-binding early action programs to keep their options open in the regular decision round, because they do not have to commit to one specific school, said Logan. Last year, 68 percent of the students of the Class of 2012 matriculated to schools to which they were accepted in the regular decision round. Logan believes that the rise in early applicants can also be in part attributed to a shift in the CCO’s overall counseling strategy. Last spring, the Class of 2013 was encouraged to look into colleges and to begin applications over the summer. As a result, students returned in the fall with a better understanding of the schools to which they wanted to apply. “We pushed students to really use the summer thoughtfully, to really think about this process and be a bit more proactive. Getting a little bit more thoughtful than in the past… I think we’ve pushed more students to [realize]—especially if there is a college you’re interested in—why wait until December to apply?” said Logan. In the past, the CCO also discouraged students who planned to apply for financial aid from applying early to any colleges so that they could wait until the regular decision round and consider all their financial aid offers at once. However, because many schools are running out of money to award students, the CCO has started to encourage students who need financial aid to apply early and compare financial aid packages they may receive in December, said Logan. “We have seen more money in the budgets earlier on in the process rather than later in the process,” said Logan. At less selective schools with admission rates above 15 percent, early applications tend to give students an edge because they demonstrate greater interest in the college, said Logan. By contrast, more selective schools tend to treat both early and regular applicants similarly. Logan explained that early pools often see higher acceptance rates simply because more legacy students and athletic recruits apply in the early round.