Early application programs have turned the college admissions process into a highly strategic arena. It is widely believed, but seldom acknowledged by colleges, that early applicants are favored in admissions decisions. This report is a brief summary of a book that will be published by Harvard University Press. We analyze admission records from 14 highly selective colleges, finding that early applicants are significantly more likely to be admitted than are regular applicants with similar qualifications. Our interviews with college students and high school counselors demonstrate a wide range of knowledge about the nature of early applications.
Avery, Christopher, Andrew Fairbanks, and Richard Zeckhauser. "What Worms for the Early Bird: Early Admissions at Elite Colleges." KSG Faculty Research Working Papers Series RWP01-049, August 2001.