the "early admissions frenzy"

<p>Interesting article in inside higher ed delineating the debate re: Harvard and Princeton's move to axe early decsion and admissions reform. </p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>"Massa said that he sees the early admissions frenzy as “a symptom of the problem,” not the root cause, so people who expect the frenzy to go away may be disappointed. “This is in no way going to restore sanity to the process,” he said.</p>

<p>Dickinson has both early action (in which students make no commitment to enroll if accepted) and early decision (in which they do). Massa said that the argument that early admissions hurts low-income students is particularly weak with regard to early action. With binding programs, the view of many experts is that low-income families can’t commit to a college without knowing their aid package. “But with early action, there’s no request that you commit early,” Massa said.</p>

<p>He noted that many colleges have a range of application deadlines, and that many public universities have rolling admissions. Why should people accept the premise put forth by Harvard and Princeton that a single deadline is necessarily the best way to recruit all kinds of students?""</p>

<p>I should also mention that the article also features rather extensive quotes made by Thacker:</p>

<p>"Thacker acknowledged that the motives for colleges to keep early admission programs are far greater at less competitive institutions, which can’t count on most accepted students enrolling. But he also said that many institutions pay attention to Harvard and Princeton. “We need to lend prestige to a new way of doing things,” he said.</p>

<p>At the same time, Thacker said it was important for admissions reformers to push on a variety of fronts — so colleges not ready to do away with early decision could still make real changes. He said that institutions might re-evaluate their use of standardized tests, shift merit aid to need-based aid, or stop cooperating with those who produce rankings.</p>

<p>“Not everyone is going to step in the same footprint, but we can still find a similar path,” he said."</p>

<p>I don't have problems with open EA such as practiced by MIT and Chicago whereby students can submit multiple EA applications. But what this does is to essentially move the RD deadline to an earlier date.</p>

<p>Marite, open EA merely accelerates the entire application process for savvy applicants or applicant who "aced" the early SAT 1 and SAT 2's thus reducing the remaining admission slots for the larger RD applicant pool. This is exactly what H&P are looking to eliminate.</p>

<p>The downside is the pleasure of gaining admission early on and being able to cruise the serene seas of senior year kicked back on the deck chair sipping a mint ice tea. I remember our son getting three early EA admissions, two of which were in his top three which was nice for him, though he was typically uber-nonchalant about everything in the process. No frenzy in our household.</p>

<p>BTY, as I typed it i got to thinking, is there any other work other than savvy with two v's in a row. And who knows the derivation of the word?</p>

1785, as a noun, "practical sense, intelligence;" also a verb, "to know, to understand;" W. Indies pidgin borrowing of Fr. savez(-vous)? "do you know?" or Sp. sabe (usted) "you know," both from V.L. *sapere, from L. sapere "be wise, be knowing" (see sapient). The adj. is first recorded 1905, from the noun.

<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Is this what you wanted to know?</p>


<p>I believe "savvy" is short for "savoir."</p>

<p>I think EA is less detrimental to less savvy and low income students than ED and SCEA. It is easier to understand than SCEA or ED and does not lock a student in as does ED, allowing a student to compare offers. But you are right that it gives less time to applicants to build a strong case and disadvantages those who choose to apply RD.</p>

<p>sjmom, it may be more that I wanted to know. ;-)</p>


thus reducing the remaining admission slots for the larger RD applicant pool

This is only the case where a school doesn't have a set (and reasonable) number of early acceptances. Some schools say they will choose no more than X% of their acceptances through EA, and most of those who aren't accepted EA are put back into the pool to be considered with everyone else for RD.</p>

<p>This Tufts editorial takes a closer look at the can of worms Harvard opened, and argues in favor of capping the number of ED acceptances rather than ditching the ED option:</p>

<p>"The removal of Early Action will not affect Harvard's attendance to a large degree, because those who apply Regular Decision are almost equally as likely as Early Action applicants to attend.</p>

<p>For Tufts, however, this is not the case. We at the University of Peace and Light must necessarily compete with a larger group of top universities for students, and the enrollment rate has typically been much lower than at Harvard. Early Decision at Tufts has served to ensure that all (or at least most) spaces will eventually be filled by excellent candidates. However, it also tends to perpetuate the stereotype that Tufts students are either Ivy League rejects or ED applicants.</p>

<p>The Harvard decision is a step in the right direction-for Harvard. It would be wonderful if Tufts had the resources to ensure a higher enrollment rate, because universities should select students at the same time and from the same group so that everyone is given a fair shake.</p>

<p>Until that is standard, there will always be cynicism surrounding the applications process, and rightly so. Early application is an extremely convoluted and misunderstood concept, and nobody but an admissions officer can really know the effect that an early application has on a student's chances.</p>

<p>Is Harvard's decision a step in the right direction? Absolutely.</p>

<p>Should Tufts do the same thing? Not yet.</p>

<p>It is a shame, but our university simply does not have the resources to be as competitive as we need to be without a certain amount of early acceptances.</p>

<p>Instead of suddenly doing away with early applications altogether, we should be focused on gradually decreasing the number of early acceptances until we can join Harvard as a school that selects its students based purely on merit-and nothing else."</p>

<p>I have to say I agree with Massa, since I already said pretty much the same things on other threads LOL Also, I think knowing early and only having to do one application seems as unfrenzied as one could hope.</p>

<p>I suspect the "frenzy" the colleges are concerned with is their own attempts to deal with ever increasing early applications. Someone mentioned after Harvard made its move that it used to have plain EA, but got swamped with applicants and switched to SCEA. (Where was the concern for the poor students then?) Now they find themselves swamped again and so they ditch the whole idea.</p>

<p>I also think that just having RD might be one way for Harvard to get its stats up (aren't the average stats lower for those accepted early? I've heard that, but I don't know for sure). With RD it can pick the best it sees. It also doesn't have the same problem with kids coasting in senior year once admitted (another problem mentioned by the administration in at least one article). Maybe Harvard wants to get back on top of the USN rankings?</p>

<p>Also notice how Harvard and Princeton aren't instituting this immediately -- they want to see what other schools do. Harvard at least has said it may go back to have EA if they don't end up with the class they want. So the concern for students rings a little false, I think.</p>

<p>Still, ED does seem tough on poorer students, in theory anyway. I don't know if in practice it is a problem -- are the financial packages generally poor? Do schools try to enforce the commitment to attend in cases where the student says the financial package isn't good enough, or do they offer more?</p>

<p>Of course it is the right decision for Harvard, who can accept kudos and look 'better and more concerned' than anyone else while still preserving their yield in all likelihood.</p>

<p>The only question is, how many Tufts are out there which realize that for their particular school, it might not be the best option.</p>

<p>The Harvard and Princeton decisions change nothing in effect. When Emory and Tufts and a bunch of other similar places drop their ED programs, then the impact will be noticable.</p>

<p>What frenzy? When my d applied, the Princeton adcom said something like this: "Think about it. If you apply early, you have the whole committee reading 2,000 applications in two months. If you apply regular, you have the committee reading 16,000 applications in 4 months. Which applications do you think get a closer reading?"</p>

<p>(The numbers may be slightly off, but that's the overall idea.)</p>

<p>That makes ED sound quite attractive doesn't it? Well, that is also the crux of the "ea admissions frenzy" plain and simple - apply early and your app gets an edge, apply RD and get thrown in with "the crowd" and give up the edge. According to the Princeton ad com mentioned above, RD apps do not get the same attention (critical when the apps are judged holistically) and therefore are in a different applicant pool. For those reformers in favor of getting rid of ED/EA, the idea is to come up with a way to "level the playing field". When UNC at Chapel Hill jettisoned ED, the idea to limit ED to 25% of the incoming class was bandied about but ultimately abandoned because the ad coms thought that most high school guidance counselors, as well as parents and students, found the notion of a capped limit to be inherently unfair - in this scenario, who is to judge which student should or should not apply early?</p>

<p>I think RD is the frenzied process. You apply by Jan 1 to many of the more selective schools and wait until April in many cases to find out who takes you. Your mid year senior grades are reviewed in consideration for admissions so slacking can have dire consequences. (Yes, they can "unadmit" you if your grades go down for the year, but it is the year's average at that point so if you go down a bit mid year, you can still bring them up, and it usually takes a pretty drastic drop for schools to drop you AFTER they admit you). You have to cover your bases and apply to match and safety schools, and may find you are applying to way too many without a firm idea where you stand. So much nicer to apply to BC and a sfety and use them as litmus tests as my son did. If you get into BC, it's a great school and you can be done. Or just apply to the lottery schools since you have your match. If deferred, you may want to reconsider some of your high level choices, and add some less selective schools to your list. If you are rejected, you had better make ask your GC to find out if their is some issue in your app, and start looking at more realistic choices.
The problem with EA is not the applicant's but of those who are not applying EA because they do not have the parental, school push to do so. Stats are showing that it is the more affluent kids with parental and school resources who are flooding the EA pool. And though EA is not binding, a good many kids end up going to their EA school because many are happy to be done with the process and others because the other schools are such reaches that not that many of those kids get into them. So what it does, is decrease the numbers of the RD acceptees where the less advantaged kids tend to be.
The schools have full control over this situation. They can cap EA, taking only the most stellar kids that apply--the definites, deferring the rest. The problem with that, is that many kids take umbrage to this and will then turn down the school RD when they have more choices at that time.<br>
But for those kids right now who want to get the process over sooner, or get an early feel for where they are in the admissions situation, EA does give them a better chance for admissions most of the time (ya gotta check the data) and you do get closer attention to your app.</p>

<p>On the whole, this last post makes a great argument in support of Massa's contention that, in the wider scheme of things, eliminating ED and EA programs will do little to solve the larger admissions frenzy issue. </p>

<p>Frenzy or no frenzy, no doubt about it, having to wait until late March or the first week of April (and in the old days, remember it used to be April 15) is, and always has been, “stressful”. But, let’s face it, even for high school students, a certain amount of stress related to deadlines is just a fact of life (after all, most academic projects and papers, as well as AP and SAT testing etc. entail registration requirements to be followed and deadlines to be respected) and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Really, the basic worries and nerves associated with getting an application in the mail by January 1, and then getting the “thick” or “thin”envelope (or e-mail, or tube or whatever bears the news these days) on a designated date is completely natural and to be expected. The problem at hand now, is that the system itself is feeding the angst. Thankfully, there are people who are immune to all of this but just the same, for a significant number, nervous anticipation turns into angst, and this angst is rooted in the fear that they are at a disadvantage and are not getting a fair shot. This is especially true if it comes from external parental overdrive. What ensues is a frenzied cycle - colleges admit almost half the class early and students submit more ED or EA applications to attempt to secure a spot. Whatever these forces propelling the cycle are, at its root is a basic insecurity and loss of faith in the system. The existence of so many ED, EA, and SCEA options (as well as the existence of likely letters) just feed the frenzy and that does makes the RD route look like a bad bet. As Marite astutely pointed out, some of this schemes do little more than merely push the RD deadline up.</p>

<p>Obviously, the ‘have your cake and eat it, too” angle of EA makes it a highly attractive option for some students and parents and appears to reduce stress for them. Apply, get in early (even if it is really not your tippy top first choice) just to get it over with early. So no wonder, what seemed like a great admissions strategy in the past is now increasing stress, and no doubt the cause of tension headaches in many admissions offices.</p>

<p>From the Philadelhia Enquirer:</p>

<p>"Students and families are anxious and they want to get a leg up. As long as that attitude is there it's going to be pretty hard to change the system," said DiFeliciantonio" of the University of Delaware.
"We don't want to turn the entire process into some elaborate game of cat-and-mouse and discriminate against students who don't play the game."</p>

<p>and from the guidance counselor side,
ED ... "can be fine for those students who have their heart set on one school, but that's not the case with most, said Cigus Vanni, a counselor at Cherry Hill High School West.</p>

<p>He said most early-admissions applicants were those "students and parents who see getting into college as gamesmanship, and they have the expectation that, 'If I don't apply early, there won't be any spaces left.' " "</p>