Top schools restart early applications

By Saj Sri-Kumar

The return of early admission to Harvard University and Princeton University stands to benefit Harvard-Westlake students, Upper School Dean Beth Slattery said.

“It’s better for our school that all of [the highly selective schools] have early programs,” she said. “We were not surprised [by the decision] and we were pleased.”

Slattery predicted that the change would result in fewer students applying to Stanford University and Yale University for early admission. Stanford and Yale have non-binding early admission programs that do not require students to attend if admitted.

Slattery said that some students whose first choice was Harvard or Princeton would apply to Stanford or Yale for early admission and then apply to their first choice school regular admission.

In addition to reducing the number of early applicants at Yale and Stanford, Slattery said that she thought the change would also lead to a reduction of regular applications to the so-called “top five” most selective schools, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As some students whose first choices are either Harvard or Princeton may get in during early admission, she said, they will not apply to an array of schools for regular admission.

Harvard and Princeton both announced the resumption of early admission on Feb. 24.

Both schools will use the “Single-Choice Early Action” program, which prohibits students from applying to other schools in an early admission program but does not require that the student attend if admitted. The change will go into effect next year.

Harvard previously had a similar program but eliminated it following the 2006-2007 college admission season.

Princeton previously had a binding early admission program but eliminated it that same year.

Both schools hoped that their actions would influence other schools to cancel their early admission programs, but few schools followed suit.

While saying that it may be a good idea in an ideal world to eliminate early admission at all schools, Slattery said that she believes that in general, early admission in its current form is beneficial for Harvard-Westlake students.

“For Harvard-Westlake, early [admission] works,” she said. “It relieves some stress, and it also takes kids out of lots of different pools.”