Nov 16, 2010

UVa Returns to Early Admissions

As predicted, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors has confirmed a plan to offer a nonbinding early action (EA) application option starting in the fall of 2011.

“We explored many early admission options and, after careful consideration, determined that an unrestricted EA plan is the most flexible and helpful to students and families,” said admissions dean Greg Roberts in a statement on Dean J’s admissions blog. “You will be hearing more about the specifics of this plan in the coming months.”

UVa did away with a binding Early Decision (ED) program in the fall of 2007, and made a highly publicized move to join with Harvard and Princeton in condemning all forms of early admission as disadvantaging low-income students. Deans from all three schools have since traveled together as part of a fall tour promoting greater accessibility in admissions.

Because EA allows students until May 1st to review and compare financial aid packages, it is considered somewhat more in line with in line with accessibility goals. UVa specifically chose this option as more “flexible” and likely to result in the “most diverse applicant pool.”

At a recent counselor breakfast jointly sponsored by the three schools, Dean Roberts alluded to administrative headaches incurred when students wait until late in the process to submit their applications. By setting a November 1st deadline suggesting a small unspoken advantage in the admissions process, UVa hopes to provide an incentive for more organized students with strong credentials to apply early. Students benefit by receiving earlier admissions decisions, and UVa benefits by snagging committed students early.

Of course, it also helps that the huge December bottleneck in the UVa admissions office might diminish to some extent, and the process should become a little less frantic for everyone involved.

The new program in no way affects applications submitted this year under the current “single review” process. EA will be in effect starting for students who are juniors this year. And both Harvard and Princeton have expressed a commitment to continue with tours Princeton Dean Janet Rapelye refers to as, “Very beneficial to the process.”

Picture provided by Wikipedia.

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