Harvard eliminates early admission

September 17, 2006 at 9:39 pm 2 comments

Posted by Dee

In the most unconventional move I’ve ever heard of in the college world, Harvard announced on September 12, 2006 that they’re doing away with their early admission program in favor of a single application due date of January 1st for applicants in fall of 2007!

According to the Harvard College Admissions website, “the change in policy… builds on Harvard’s efforts over the past several years to expand financial aid and increase openness in admissions.”

This is a very interesting move, one which will undoubtedly have great consequences and influence on the future of college admissions around the country. It will be interesting to follow the repercussions of Harvard’s action on the college admissions process which, according to Harvard interim President Derek Bok, has become “too pressured, too complex, and too vulnerable to public cynicism.”

While Bok says that the early admission program “tends to advantage the advantaged” because lower income students are often less well-advised and less aware of the distinction between regular and early application and the pros and cons of each, and that students don’t have the opportunity to compare financial aid packages, I wonder what will happen to the positive aspects of early admission programs. Much of the benefit of Early Decision was in that it allowed students to demonstrate that a particular school was their top choice and it offered students the security, early in the school year, of knowing where they would be going to school in the fall. And, early application programs are indeed mutually beneficial in that they provide schools the security early on of knowing they’d have students to fill lecture halls.

The Harvard officials quoted also expressed concern over the fact that sometimes when a student is accepted early, they take that as license to slack off during the second semester of senior year. Perhaps a more rigorously applied system of revoking admission is in order, rather than creating a single application due date.

Apparently, Harvard began an early admission system, with nonbinding Early Action, 30 years ago, and if the single application deadline fails to bring about the sought-after results, they will revert back to the nonbinding early notification system, according to Harvard College’s Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons, after a two or three year trial period.

I’m not sure where I personally stand on this change; they bring up some great points in favor of the change in the article, but I can’t help thinking that huge positives of the early notification system will be lost. Nonetheless, I think it goes without debate to say that it will be extremely interesting to see where college admissions go from here.

For the full article, click here!


Entry filed under: Academics, Admissions, College trends, Colleges/Universities, Deadline, Early action, Early decision, Financial aid, Harvard, News, Regular decision.

The guarantee to a top ACT Admission statistics for top colleges: 2006

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. RubySquad  |  February 15, 2007 at 6:46 am

    Harvard eliminates early admission

    What’s the big deal about Harvard? Bill Gates did not like it that much. Anyway, has anyone heard of Western Governors University?…

  • 2. Jen  |  February 17, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    What’s the big deal with Harvard?

    I don’t like Harvard either, but I find it a “big” deal.

    Why? Harvard is the college. Regardless of whether or not Bill Gates likes it, Harvard has quite a bit of a reputation. If Harvard deems something, say EA, as useless and discards it, it’s sort of expected that other schools do the same or at least experiment more with it. It’s a bit like Follow the Leader.


    But that’s my opinion, and I’m not Bill Gates.


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