To drop or not to drop

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December 7, 2006

11:15 PM

Over the past year, numerous major universities around the country have decided to eliminate the early decision and early action options for college applications. Harvard and Princeton Universities were some of the first schools to eliminate the options for next year’s applicants. This decision will clearly make a significant difference in the application process as a whole.

p. For many students, there is often no benefit to applying early decision. In fact, the better schools are often more selective during the earlier application rounds. If a student is not a sure fit for the school, admission offices will simply defer the application and look at it again within the larger pool of applicants.

p. However, this option gives a clear advantage to wealthier applicants. Students from more affluent backgrounds typically apply early decision because they don’t need to depend on financial to make a decision. Many qualified students are unable to apply early decision, though, because it is a binding agreement with no guarantee of financial aid.

p. I agree that the option of early decision should be eliminated from the application process. By having everyone apply in a single round, each applicant is given an equal opportunity for enrollment and those who need financial aid are not put at a disadvantage.

p. There is also a growing worry among both college and high school teachers that high school seniors are not working hard enough after they get into college. Chances are that we have all heard of “senioritis” and most of us probably suffered from it during our senior year. The problem, however, is that it starts much earlier for those students who get in through early decision. After months of slacking during senior year, these students experience great difficulty re-adjusting to the workload of freshman year in college.

p. As someone who got into the College through early decision, I understand how negatively it can affect students’ academics. But, at the time, it seemed like the best decision I could make. I received my acceptance letter on Nov. 30, so I was carefree for the rest of my senior year. But, if you asked my parents or my teachers, both would have said that there was a noticeable dive in my performance at school. Once I was in, there was little motivation to work as hard as I did before.

p. Despite the clear advantages of eliminating the early decision option, most schools don’t have the luxury of doing so. Harvard can afford to do so because it has the highest rate of students who choose to enroll once they are admitted; it knows that students will enroll regardless. Many schools, however, would not be able to fill the expected number of students without the option.

p. Schools that can afford to eliminate the early decision option should do so. There would not only be a noticeable improvement in the academic performance of those high school students who would have applied early, but the clear disadvantage it poses for those students in need of financial aid would also be rectified. There is no point in giving an advantage to those students who already have an upper hand in the application process.

p. __Rachael Siemon-Carome is a freshman at the College. Her views do not necessarily represent those of The Flat Hat.__

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