October 10, 2006
Time’s up for early admission programs
I’m back from a lovely 3-day holiday weekend at my in-laws. I hope you all had a wonderful Columbus Day.
According to the Chicago Tribune:
“ Members of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling voted Saturday in Pittsburgh to ban programs that let students know whether they’ve been accepted before mid-September. They also barred colleges from setting application deadlines before Oct. 15.
Critics say the so-called extreme admissions programs create anxiety because students think they need to make decisions about which school to attend before their senior year, and send a message that their last year of high school is irrelevant.
The programs debated at the conference in Pittsburgh generally affect institutions that are less competitive than the nation’s elite universities and often have rolling-admissions policies.
A survey last year of 2,232 four-year colleges found that 68 percent allow students to begin applying before Sept. 1 of their senior year. A quarter of those schools admit students before the start of senior year. Most do not require students to enroll in the college if they’re accepted.
“We are really concerned about what we term `deadline creep,'” said Pete Caruso, a Boston College admissions official who helped write the new guidelines for the association.
“We want to try to preserve the act of applying to college as a senior-year activity.”
The 9,000 members of the association, mostly high school guidance counselors and college admissions officials, agree to abide by the group’s policies. If they don’t, penalties include being barred from college recruiting fairs and the organization. Most colleges comply because of peer pressure.
Opponents of early-admission practices such as the one at Eureka say they have some of the same flaws as those being scrapped by Harvard, Princeton and the University of Virginia: They contribute to the pressure students feel about the college application process.
Officials also said the programs tend to advantage affluent students who don’t need to compare financial-aid packages.
Early applicants, those high schoolers who apply by the fall and get a decision by Christmas, generally have a better shot at getting in, and colleges get to cherry-pick from the best students.“