AU staff says the decision by Ivy League colleges will not change their early admissions program
Harvard Universityâ€™s announcement to abolish its non-binding early decision program by 2008 has no influence on the current admissions process at American University, said admissions director Sharon Alston.
â€œAU has a wonderful early decision program,â€ said Alston. The AU admissions staff has had no discussion of changing it, she said. Harvard will become the first elite school to eliminate its early admission program in hopes of broadening the applicant pool and evening the playing field.
Harvardâ€™s interim President, Derek Bok, told the Harvard University Gazette that early admission programs encourage students from affluent backgrounds to apply first, placing others at a disadvantage. Last week, Princeton University announced it would also discontinue early decision from their admissions process.
According to USA Today, in June, the University of Delaware announced an end to its early decision deadline and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ended its binding plan in 2002, adding speculation that more universities will follow suit.
Alston said university admissions staffs across the country have actively debated this controversial topic for nearly a decade. Gregory Solomon, a junior at AU, said universities should only get rid of early decision if there is evidence that eliminating it will even the playing field.
A number of universities abuse the process by admitting a substantial number of applicants and making the admission process unnecessarily difficult, Alston said. â€œGetting into college has become a job,â€ said Lola Adeyemo, a junior at AU. Alston said she agrees that early decision programs could potentially hurt underrepresented students that may not have access to college counseling and need additional time to decide.
Yet, the pool of students applying for early decision at AU is so small that it is unlikely to affect the applicant pool as much as it would at Harvard, said Alston. Only 18 percent to 20 percent of applicants are admitted through the early decision program at AU. Less than 3 percent of the early admitted students are minorities.
â€œAt this day and age, there is so much competition,â€ said Adeyemo. â€œIt wasnâ€™t about grades [in the past,] it was about what you did.â€ Adeyemo said she thinks there is nothing wrong with getting an extra advantage and setting yourself apart from other applicants, especially if a student knows which university they want to attend.
â€œAU needs to appeal to more minorities,â€ said senior Toushi Itoka, rather than simply changing admissions processes. Early admitted students receive early access to advising, merit awards and financial aid, said Alston. Yet, students should know that applying early does not increase or decrease an applicantâ€™s chances of admittance, said Alston.
Alston said she tries to discourage students from applying for early decision so applicants are sure AU is the right fit.