The early bird gets the worm right?
Not always. And for that, we applaud Harvard University’s decision to nix its early-admissions program starting with the class of 2012.
Early-admissions programs have put low-income students and minorities at a disadvantage when competing to enter the nation’s most selective colleges. Derek Bok, the Ivy League school’s interim president, told the “New York Times” last week, “We think this will produce a fairer process, because
the existing process has been shown to advantage those who are already advantaged.”
Last year, the University of Delaware decided it too would end its early-admissions programs. Now, others must follow.
In its history, early-admissions programs give any student who participates the opportunity to apply to college early in the fall of his senior year. Most colleges that have early-admissions programs respond to applicants by December of their senior year.
While it is a student’s choice to apply to any college through an early-admissions program, that choice is restrictive because a student loses his or her opportunity at looking at varied financial aid packages other schools may offer. Because some early-admissions programs include an “early action” clause which is binding, when students apply early and are accepted, there’s no turning back, which means no looking at financial aid packages from other schools. Students must often choose the school before they know how much financial aid they will receive.
The choice is a risky one: apply early to increase your chances of getting into a highly selective school, or apply early and lose out on potentially better financial aid packages from other colleges. Students who can afford to skip out on browsing for better financial aid packages are at a serious advantage.
For many, the choice is clear. The pomp and prestige that surrounds attending many of the nation’s elite colleges is almost too good to pass up. Students are taught and conditioned early on about the benefits of attending an “elite” school.
As the price of higher education in this country continues to rise to pricey plateaus, students do not need another barrier to discourage them from attending college.
Plus, who really needs the extra stress? Admissions directors at the nation’s colleges are certainly not losing any sleep over it.
Senior year for many high schoolers proves to be the most challenging.
Applying to college is a challenge, and it should be, but extra hurdles, like early- admissions programs, should be eliminated.
Deciding on a college is not a race to the swiftest. High schoolers ought to take their time in choosing where they want to spend the next four years (or more) of their lives after they say goodbye to homecoming dances and Friday night football games.
Bottom line: there’s no rush. College isn’t going anywhere, but we know where tuition fees are going.