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I am so tired of these myths about early admission

RealMomRealMom Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
edited November 2007 in Parents Forum
It is time we parents at CC unite and speak out about these:

1. Early admissions puts pressure on the kids to make decisions early:

The difference between the early dates and the regular admissions is just about two months. An application deadline of Nov 1 should just mean that the college search process should start a couple of months earlier, not a bad idea because it will push it into the summer months when there is more time to do this.

2. All early admissions processes are bad, since they don't let you take advantage of financial aid:

While this may be true of early decisions and financial aid, this is simply not true of early action schools. Single choice early action (or restrictive early action) actually reduces pressure on the kids by letting them know they got in by December 15, reduces the number of applications that are sent in to multiple schools (once you get into your top choice school, there is no reason to apply elsewhere unless you don't get the financial aid you need at this school), and still leaves you with a choice of applying to other schools if you need more financial aid.

3. Only the rich can know about early admissions, so it is not fair to have any early programs:

This is the most startling myth - and it appears to have reached an urban legend status. Every college website I see, every application form I read, has information clearly laid out about the choices for applying early. How can we assume that a high school junior or senior (who supposedly has the intelligence and ability to attend a world class college) does not have the ability to read and understand this? I have seen children who are certainly not rich get this information and apply to their top choice college early, and get in. This is from a public school in a small town where there are 4 counselors for over 2,000 kids.

4. Those who get in early will not work hard the rest of their senior year:

It is not the purpose of the college admissions process to ensure that students work hard throughout the year. That is the student's responsibility, and I should hope that a child who is dedicated to learning and wants to pursue a rigorous course of study at one of the top colleges will not consider slacking off as an option.
Post edited by RealMom on
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Replies to: I am so tired of these myths about early admission

  • 1of421of42 - Posts: 2,443 Senior Member
    You should read the article by the Stanford provost that came out last fall. In any case, I agree with you - many of these myths have taken on a life of their own, which is highly unfortunate in my mind.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Super Moderator Posts: 17,472 Super Moderator
    3. Only the rich can know about early admissions, so it is not fair to have any early programs:

    This isn't an issue one should look at theoretically, but rather empirically. Harvard, Princeton, and the U of Virginia

    University of Virginia, Harvard, & Princeton Admission Presentations

    each decided for this year to eliminate their former early application programs (Harvard's was SCEA, and Princeton's ED, but both were early) and see if that would result in a larger number of admitted students from low-income backgrounds. They are out on recruiting visits right now while peer colleges are reviewing early applications. I think the results of their experiment will show, empirically, whether it is possible for a high-desirability college with a huge number of applications to end up with a more representative socioeconomic profile of admitted students under early admission programs or one-deadline programs.
    You should read the article by the Stanford provost that came out last fall.

    When you do, be sure to note the places where the provost, a world-famous logician, ASSUMES facts that are in dispute. His logic is impeccable, as one would expect from him, but the facts he relies on in his reasoning are suspect. Again, I would ask onlookers to judge empirical matters empirically, rather than with armchair reasoning.
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    I think the one truth that should become better known is that if finances are going to be part of your decision, don't get too hung up about EA. You won't have all your options in hand until April anyway.
  • icy9ff8icy9ff8 - Posts: 1,605 Senior Member
    I agree with RealMom and her support for early decision and early action admissions options. ED and EA also benefit individual applicants by forcing some to be more realistic regarding their targeted schools while there is still ample time to apply in the regular admissions cycle if needed.
  • Proud DadProud Dad Registered User Posts: 506 Member
    Non-binding Early Action shouldn't bother a Financial Aid applicant since no acceptance is required until most offers are in-hand. I'm still one who believes firmly that FA applicants get shafted quite often in Early Decision. I think corroborating evidence is slowly coming out from UVA and others. I wouldn't let my kids use ED for that very reason. EA worked out fine though. D2 is at her EA school. I think EA is a great way to apply. It shows the school a distinct interest and can take the pressure off for the months following the decision.
  • RealMomRealMom Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Even if the empirical evidence showed that low income students currently did not apply early, shouldn't the remedy be to inform them about this option, instead of eliminating it? How does elimination of the process help - a process that is inherently good if it is followed by all - it reduces stress for students, reduces the total number of applications to all universities and informs the college which students truly consider it their top choice.

    Harvard and other colleges have the resources to recruit these students earlier, and still keep the early action process active. These two activities are not mutually exclusive, IMHO.
  • StickerShockStickerShock Registered User Posts: 3,781 Senior Member
    I always thought Myth #3 was "Only the rich can risk taking part in ED, so it is not fair." I've never heard anyone imply that ED was some hidden or secretive program.

    Actually, the way I've phrased it, this is not a myth at all. You had better be prepared to pay whatever the ED school assumes you can, and not too many of the non-rich can write a check for $50K.
  • Proud DadProud Dad Registered User Posts: 506 Member
    Binding ED is daunting for those who require tuition assistance to attend top schools. The schools realize this and no amount of repeating that ED does not influence FA awards will substitute for comparing offers from other schools and making your best deal. Students who expect to pay full-fare for their attendance don't have to worry about that because they enter ED knowing what their costs will be. UVA has taken as much as 25% or more of their entering class by ED over the years and that makes RD a much more difficult road for those not comfortable enough with finances to make a binding decision without knowledge of what the cost will be. Filling out FAFSA or Profile work sheets can only tell you so much. UVA made steps in this direction with guaranties of maximum loan amounts for all and zero costs to some under a low-income threshold, but that didn't take the burden off the middle-class. Can you possibly suggest that removing the ED option does not provide a level playing field? Even if you don't agree that ED tilts it? So, why not get rid of it? Three great schools (at least) think it's appropriate, and I applaud their decision to do so.
  • midmomidmo Registered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    ...a process that is inherently good if it is followed by all...

    I think you overstate the "peace of mind" aspect of early application programs. Many high school seniors make significant self-discoveries during their senior year in high school.

    My son was admitted EA to a school he loved; while he was pretty sure that was where he would be attending, he nonetheless submitted many RD applications because he was interested in finding merit money. In the end, he chose a different school, only partly because the merit award was larger. He also had come to realize, during the months in between early notifications and regular notifications, that he really preferred the type of program offered by school B.
  • SarahsDadSarahsDad Registered User Posts: 380 Member
    Found the Stanford Provost article Nonbinding early admission programs are fair - it's a good read.
  • midmomidmo Registered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    From the Stanford provost's statement:
    The final charge made by critics of early programs is that they increase the frenzy of the college admission process. This is certainly not true for those students who are clear about their first-choice college: They can apply to that institution early. If they get in, their admissions worries are over. If they do not, they can then submit applications to other schools, but are in no worse shape than if there were no early admission program.

    My qualm is the assumption that all these students really are clear about their 'first-choice' college. I'm sure some are, but I've seen a lot of kids change their minds about their preferences, their goals, their priorities during the senior year. I think the early application decisions benefit the colleges far more than the students--and too many parents and students are overlooking why the programs were instituted in the first place.
  • holymommaholymomma Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    1. Early admissions puts pressure on the kids to make decisions early:

    The difference between the early dates and the regular admissions is just about two months. An application deadline of Nov 1 should just mean that the college search process should start a couple of months earlier, not a bad idea because it will push it into the summer months when there is more time to do this.

    The decision for ED is made at the application date of Nov.1, RD decisions are made after the acceptance date (usually by 5/1)

    The rest I agree with.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Super Moderator Posts: 17,472 Super Moderator
    The great thing about colleges having differing policies is that over time we can compare results and see which policies have which effects.
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    Realmom: "Harvard and other colleges have the resources to recruit these students earlier, and still keep the early action process active." Do you think that Harvard et. al. are out recruiting poor kids? It sure doesn't look that way from here. Even the top achievers in the poor high schools are stuck with completely overwhelmed guidance offices and rarely does a college admissions rep darken their door (much less an Ivy).
  • tokenadulttokenadult Super Moderator Posts: 17,472 Super Moderator
    Here's a Business Week article about Harvard's recruiting efforts, from a previous admission season:

    Online Extra: How Harvard Gets its Best and Brightest

    And here is a statement by Harvard's dean of admission and financial aid about some of his goals for the new single-deadline admission process at Harvard:

    The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: New Possibilities in the Post-Early Admissions Era

    As before, what I have to say about this is that the process will be judged by its results. Other colleges with differing policies may or may not have differing results.
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