50 Colleges With High Early Admission Rates

At these schools, applying early could raise your odds of getting in.

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Updated 12/20/11: Statistics in this story have been updated to reflect admissions data based on fall 2010, the most recent year for which complete data are available.

As competition heightens for admission to top colleges, a growing number of students are trying to improve their odds by applying early—with good reason, as a U.S.News & World Report's analysis of 2010 admission statistics shows. At dozens of colleges, the admissions rate for early applicants is far higher than the admissions rate for high school seniors who wait until the regular deadlines. 

[Read about the controversy over early admissions.] 

These statistics only count the early applicants who are accepted early. Many colleges defer decisions on some early applicants, accepting them after the deadline for being counted as early admissions, so the eventual acceptance rate for early applicants is often even higher than these numbers indicate. 

[Read about 3 reasons colleges accept more early applicants.

Here is a list of 50 colleges with much higher admissions rate for early applicants than regular applicants, listed in order of the biggest differences between early and regular acceptance rates.

  College State Percent of early applicants who are admitted early* Percent of regular applicants admitted Difference in acceptance rates
1 Tougaloo College MS 100% 34% 66%
2 University of Arkansas AR 91% 35% 56%
3 Agnes Scott College GA 82% 31% 51%
4 St. Lawrence University NY 87% 36% 51%
5 University of North Florida FL 100% 49% 51%
6 Illinois Wesleyan University IL 93% 46% 47%
7 Central Christian College KS 100% 55% 45%
8 High Point University NC 89% 47% 42%
9 Lawrence University WI 93% 52% 41%
10 College of the Holy Cross MA 73% 33% 40%
11 Presbyterian College SC 90% 50% 40%
12 Stonehill College MA 86% 47% 39%
13 Ursinus College PA 61% 22% 39%
14 Meredith College NC 100% 64% 36%
15 Miami University--Oxford OH 88% 52% 36%
16 Denison University OH 83% 48% 35%
17 The Sage Colleges NY 92% 57% 35%
18 University of Dayton OH 87% 52% 35%
19 Bucknell University PA 62% 28% 34%
20 Skidmore College NY 78% 44% 34%
21 Union College NY 74% 40% 34%
22 Whitman College WA 79% 45% 34%
23 Lehigh University PA 68% 35% 33%
24 Muhlenberg College PA 79% 46% 33%
25 SUNY Institute of Technology--Utica/Rome NY 63% 30% 33%
26 Wabash College IN 88% 55% 33%
27 Wheelock College MA 97% 64% 33%
28 Wittenberg University OH 90% 57% 33%
29 Connecticut College CT 61% 29% 32%
30 Davidson College NC 58% 26% 32%
31 Oberlin College OH 61% 29% 32%
32 Trinity University TX 81% 49% 32%
33 American University DC 73% 42% 31%
34 Butler University IN 85% 54% 31%
35 Westmont College CA 90% 59% 31%
36 Haverford College PA 54% 24% 30%
37 University of Puget Sound WA 82% 52% 30%
38 University of Vermont VT 94% 64% 30%
39 Beloit College WI 90% 61% 29%
40 Bentley University MA 63% 34% 29%
41 Colorado College CO 52% 23% 29%
42 DePaul University IL 85% 56% 29%
43 Lafayette College PA 69% 40% 29%
44 Linfield College OR 99% 70% 29%
45 University of Tampa FL 62% 33% 29%
46 Washington and Lee University VA 46% 17% 29%
47 George Mason University VA 75% 47% 28%
48 Gettysburg College PA 66% 38% 28%
49 Kalamazoo College MI 92% 64% 28%
50 La Salle University PA 83% 55% 28%
51 University of Connecticut CT 64% 36% 28%
52 University of Georgia GA 70% 42% 28%

*Combines early decision and early action programs at those colleges that have both. In addition, some colleges defer some early applicants to the regular pool, where they have an additional chance of admittance, so the percentage of early applicants who are eventually accepted may be higher. Because of ties, there are more than 50 schools listed.

Looking for the best college for you? Check out the complete rankings of Best Colleges.

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