Apparently for many years early admission was "owned" by students attending private schools, or, according to The New York Times, early admission was "once the almost exclusive preserve of the East Coast elite."
But the secret got out and the number of early admission applicants has increased by as much as three-fold at some schools. And that has left far more disappointed students this year, particularly in some of the famous New York prep schools.
Another factor contributing to greater numbers of unhappy kids is an increase in international students applying for early decision, who are also willing and able to pay their way without any financial assistance. On the other hand, more public school kids are applying early -- and getting in.
If a student is absolutely sure one school is the school, and there's a reasonable chance for acceptance, by all means, apply early. But as kids learned this year, make sure you're ready to go with the regular decision applications. Given the early admission environment in 2012, it's nearly impossible to believe next year will be any better.