Question: Hi, my best friend of 5 years got into his dream top LAC in early decision. However, his family is pressuring him into applying to the top ivies and Stanford in RD. I am really scared for him. He is an international student with large financial aid and past experiences have shown that the admission to Ivies is kind of random. What I am afraid about is that the LAC may rescind his admission offer because what he is doing is unethical and I think common application must have some system in place that would let the college know. So, what I want to ask is, should I be worried for him about his admission offer being rescinded or should I just let his family force him to apply?
If your “friend” is smart enough to get into a top liberal arts college and, potentially, into an Ivy League university or Stanford, then he ought to also be smart enough to know that he is playing with fire here. Many elite colleges do exchange lists of admitted ED candidates who have indicated that they plan to enroll. So if your friend were to accept the LAC offer and then go ahead and apply elsewhere, it is highly likely that he’d lose his spot at the college that accepted him, and he would be rejected (with disdain to boot) from his other target schools.
In addition, the student's guidance counselor is not permitted to send transcripts and recommendations to additional colleges once the applicant has accepted an ED offer. (However, because this applicant is an international student, it's possible that he doesn't have a guidance counselor who understands this policy or perhaps has no guidance counselor at all.)
The only way that this guy can forge ahead with his plan to apply to Ivies and to Stanford would be to tell his ED college IMMEDIATELY that he cannot accept their offer for financial reasons (which doesn’t ring true, based on what you’ve said about his aid award, but—even so—he is free to say it). Then, once he has withdrawn from the ED school, he can apply to others without penalty.
But I view this as a very stupid plan and you ought to show this letter to him and, especially, to his family before he acts on it.