Harvard ends its "early action" policy

Harvard will be ending its “early action” policy in which high school seniors could apply early and find out their decision by December 15. Obviously, like Wesleyan’s own “early decision” program, these kids are given an edge in admissisons as they have already pronounced to the school to which they are applying that if accepted, they will matriculate.

The debate involving the early action is that it favored wealthier students who did not have to weigh financial aid packages (which are typically offered in the spring) before choosing a school and they were getting a leg up in elite admissions.

I’m personally glad Harvard is doing this. It’s a good move and soon other schools will fall in line.

8 thoughts on “Harvard ends its "early action" policy

  1. Anonymous

    Molly: The article takes this into account:Under early action, applicants must agree not to apply to other schools early but can apply elsewhere in the spring. More commonly, colleges allow students to apply early decision, which requires them to commit to attending if accepted.Both programs have been criticized as favoring wealthier, well-connected applicants who don’t need to worry about balancing competing offers of financial aid. Harvard, along with other elite schools, has faced criticism for a high concentration of wealthy students despite significant efforts to expand financial aid in recent years.At most selective colleges, applicants are accepted from the early pool at a higher rate than from the general pool, though the colleges contend that is at least in part because the applicant pool is stronger.”Early admission programs tend to advantage the advantaged,” Bok said. “Students from more sophisticated backgrounds and affluent high schools often apply early to increase their chances of admission, while minority students and students from rural areas, other countries, and high schools with fewer resources miss out.”

  2. Anonymous

    Molly: The article takes this into account:

    Under early action, applicants must agree not to apply to other schools early but can apply elsewhere in the spring. More commonly, colleges allow students to apply early decision, which requires them to commit to attending if accepted.

    Both programs have been criticized as favoring wealthier, well-connected applicants who don’t need to worry about balancing competing offers of financial aid. Harvard, along with other elite schools, has faced criticism for a high concentration of wealthy students despite significant efforts to expand financial aid in recent years.

    At most selective colleges, applicants are accepted from the early pool at a higher rate than from the general pool, though the colleges contend that is at least in part because the applicant pool is stronger.

    “Early admission programs tend to advantage the advantaged,” Bok said. “Students from more sophisticated backgrounds and affluent high schools often apply early to increase their chances of admission, while minority students and students from rural areas, other countries, and high schools with fewer resources miss out.”

  3. molly

    Well, early action is different – since it’s not early decision, you don’t have to matriculate if you get in, it’s just for those who want to apply in regular decision…earlier. Also, I was told when applying that the only reason you could use to not matriculate at a school you got in to through early decision was financial. So if a school says they will meet 100% of stated need, and doesn’t, then you can deny their offer of acceptance.

  4. molly

    Well, early action is different – since it’s not early decision, you don’t have to matriculate if you get in, it’s just for those who want to apply in regular decision…earlier. Also, I was told when applying that the only reason you could use to not matriculate at a school you got in to through early decision was financial. So if a school says they will meet 100% of stated need, and doesn’t, then you can deny their offer of acceptance.

  5. Holly

    I agree that only the most “elite” (er, I mean sucks to say that) places will do this, because they can afford to, but I’d rather see this happen at the most expensive schools than not at all.

  6. Holly

    I agree that only the most “elite” (er, I mean sucks to say that) places will do this, because they can afford to, but I’d rather see this happen at the most expensive schools than not at all.

  7. Aaron Tabak

    Sadly, I don’t think too many schools will follow Harvard’s lead, as pointed out in this NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/12/education/12harvard.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin :”Bruce Hunter, director of college counseling at the Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School, a private school in Salt Lake City, said he hoped other universities would follow Harvard’s lead, but he was not confident they would.“I think that Harvard has calculated that they will not suffer any competitive disadvantage in the process,’’ Mr. Hunter said. “I’m not sure that there are more than a handful of other places that could make the same claim.’’”

  8. Aaron Tabak

    Sadly, I don’t think too many schools will follow Harvard’s lead, as pointed out in this NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/12/education/12harvard.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin :
    “Bruce Hunter, director of college counseling at the Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School, a private school in Salt Lake City, said he hoped other universities would follow Harvard’s lead, but he was not confident they would.

    “I think that Harvard has calculated that they will not suffer any competitive disadvantage in the process,’’ Mr. Hunter said. “I’m not sure that there are more than a handful of other places that could make the same claim.’’”

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