But that influx is precisely the reason UNC officials hesitated to switch to the Common Application, Farmer said.
“We want students to search thoughtfully rather than applying rashly,” he said.
“I don’t know how much time it actually saves students, but they perceive that it saves them a lot of time.”
The Common Application is a standard application that can be submitted to participating universities nationwide. Often, those schools — including UNC — require a supplemental application.
J.D. Hastings, an in-state high school senior, used the Common Application to apply early action.
“If I wished to apply to more schools, the Common App would definitely prompt me to apply,” he said.
Hastings said the UNC supplement to the Common Application gave him the opportunity to set himself apart.
The early action deadline fell on Oct. 15, two weeks earlier than last year. The number of applications submitted for early action was down 8 percent from last year.
Last year, more than 14,000 students applied early. This year, fewer than 13,000 did.
The earlier deadline could have discouraged some from applying early, Tucker said.
“We do not try to predict the actions of 17-year-olds,” she said.
But the flow of applications accelerated in time for the Jan. 5 regular decision deadline.
Admitted early action students ranked in the top of their class, with 86.7 percent in the top 10 percent. Students ranked first in their class made up 11 percent of those admitted.
The male-female ratio of admitted students in the early action round was about 60 percent female and 40 percent male. That ratio mirrored the applicant pool, of which 39 percent were male.
An increased application fee of $80, up from $70, was implemented as well. Admissions staff said they hope it will offset any additional processing costs.
Admissions staff will spend the next two months sifting through thousands of regular decision applications.
“We have a lot of second deadline candidates, so we’re going to have to hustle,” Farmer said.
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