There are those who suggest that highly selective colleges are somewhat apathetic to the number of applications they receive each and every year. Any casual reader of our college admissions blog knows otherwise. Colleges love to be loved. They love to receive lots and lots of applications. And why? Because the more students who apply to a university in a given year, invariably the lower the school’s admission rate will be. This means that even if a ton of unqualified applicants apply to the school, it’ll lower their admission rate and boost the university’s “US News & World Report” ranking.
And, yes it is indeed a game. Just how much of a game is it? Well, it’s first important to keep in mind that all highly selective colleges are guilty of this trend so we don’t mean to single one out. Columbia University, after all, is no more guilty than any other highly selective college. But Columbia is guilty nonetheless. Students who Columbia deemed interested in applying to the university who hadn’t yet applied by the January 1st deadline received an email communication after the deadline from Columbia’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid that read, “The first-year application deadline to apply to Columbia University has passed and as we have not yet received your application, we wanted to reach out to you. As you had indicated your interest in applying to Columbia prior to the deadline, we will continue to accept your first-year application until 11:59 p.m. (your local time) on Monday, January 4, 2016…If you have decided not to apply to Columbia, we wish you the best of luck in your college process. Thank you for your interest, past or future, in Columbia University.”
A number of highly selective colleges extend their deadlines, even after the deadline for applications has passed. And why? To boost application numbers of course. We totally understand why colleges extend deadlines when hurricanes and earthquakes rattle regions of the world. But we happen to find these extensions quite silly. And transparent.