Harvard Admissions

Harvard EA, Harvard Early Action, Early Action at Harvard

Do you believe that Harvard’s return to an Early Action policy makes their admissions process more equitable?

There is an editorial in today’s edition of The Boston Globe in which the writer argues that the return of Early Action to Harvard makes the admissions process more equitable for all: “The admissions advantage for athletes has been a source of contention at Harvard for decades. A situation in which athletes get an early word, but few other applicants do, was hard to square with the overall philosophy of promoting equity. It’s far better to bring back early action — and to make sure all potential applicants know about the option.”

While it is true that athletes who applied Regular Decision these past couple of years to Harvard were indeed receiving Likely Letters at the time when candidates for admission would have received their notices if Early Action remained in place, reinstating Early Action at Harvard will not end this particular advantage for athletes. After all, coveted athletes who choose not to apply Early Action to Harvard but instead choose to apply Regular Decision next year will, we suspect, still be receiving those Likely Letters in December.

And Early programs surely do not promote equity in spite of what the deans of admission and university presidents may suggest to the contrary. Are Early programs great for universities? You bet! Are they great for students who want to get accepted early on in senior year and not have to worry about their admission decisions for many more months? Yes, of course. But students who are admitted Early are historically less diverse than those who are admitted through Regular Decision. Let’s call a spade a spade.


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