Colleges debate early-admission policies

By Liz Garrett
October 25, 2007

Vickie Papageorge

Colleges are debating the merits of early-admissions policies. Some schools, like Harvard, did away with early admissions because Harvard felt that policy favored students from high-powered schools and families who could get all the paper-work together in junior year.

Cabrini’s admissions office is focused more on attracting a variety of students each year, than forcing them into early enrollment decisions. Early-admission is offered at Cabrini. Prospective students are advised to consider it if they have exceptional backgrounds in academics and are certain of their choice.

Cabrini, like many colleges, has rolling acceptance. If a student wishes to apply early, the admissions office makes a prompt decision.

“We have an early acceptance policy partly because people want to know in advance, financially, what it will cost to attend the school,” Joseph Coyle, associate director of admissions at Cabrini, said.

Although early-admission is possible at Cabrini, it is not necessary for a student to add anxiety to his or her junior year of high school unless it is of interest. Additionally, binding students to their choice of college once they have been admitted is not a goal of Cabrini’s admissions office.

“We are not dealing with the same volume of students like for example Penn State. There’s really no benefit for requiring early-admissions,” Coyle said. “We don’t want to turn a lot of students away by forcing them to commit early or start making this into a competitive game. We want to keep admissions friendly.”

College officials as well as high school counselors are wondering what is considered to be too early, according to the New York Times article, “Efforts to Create a Standard Early-Admissions Policy Run Into Trouble,” by Tamar Lewin.

The conflict of pleasing all schools when it comes to the timing of admissions is becoming quite an issue. The admissions process at an Ivy League institution highly contrasts to the procedure at a community college.

This past year, the National Association for College Admission Counseling designated that colleges not announce students’ admission decisions before Sept. 15 of their senior year. It will not be until next year that this policy is expected to start affecting colleges. This regulation was based on interests of lifting college application stress off of students during their junior year. However for state universities and community colleges, the new policy seems to be geared towards the pressure that the Ivy Leagues put on admissions.

The pressure of applying and waiting for acceptances from colleges was what jump-started the Sept. 15 policy.

Students are frequently told to apply as early as possible, which causes double the tension that they are already under in their third year of high school. “It was a little frustrating and stressful,” freshman communications major Morgan Johnson, said. “I feel like when you take your time, you find the college that’s best for you.”

Harvard and Princeton have already closed their early-admissions processes because of the damage it does to prospective students.

The problem remains that several other elite institutions do not want to give up the early admission system, because elite schools often fill a large percentage of their incoming classes with early admissions students. Thus the debate over the Sept. 15 policy is increasing and causing more colleges to examine either keeping rolling admissions or advancing to early-admissions.

Students interviewed on campus favored the rolling admissions process at Cabrini. “It didn’t add stress to my senior year. It was one of the easier schools to apply to because of rolling admissions,” freshman elementary education major Brittany Kostman, said.

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Liz Garrett

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