Early Decision Under Fire
A new report, published by a group known as “Education Reform Now,” has sharply criticized Early Decision policies. What? A group is against the notion that students should not have to make binding commitments to universities in exchange for increased odds of admission? This is a radical rebuke of a policy that has never weathered any criticism whatsoever. Ok, we kid, we kid. Early Decision has been under fire for many years with the central argument against the practice being that it favors wealthy applicants. So what does the new report by “Education Reform Now” have to say?
As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Report Blasts Early Decision,” “The report noted that ‘students who attended independent private high schools were more than 3.5 times more likely to apply ED than public school students were.’ In addition, ‘international applicants were almost three times more likely to apply ED than U.S. residents were.’ And further, ‘applicants from the wealthiest ZIP codes were twice as likely to apply ED than all other applicants were.’ To solve the problem, if colleges are unwilling to eliminate early decision, the report made three recommendations: that early decision end at public institutions, that ‘institutions that offer ED … meet the full financial need of all applicants’ and improved ‘awareness of the benefits of early decision by improving college and career counseling.'”
So, basically, the report should be used to start a fire on a cold day. Or perhaps to make model airplanes on a breezy day. Who needs a report to tell us that it would be good for colleges to better get out the word about the benefits of applying Early Decision? Who needs a report to tell us that public institutions end Early Decision policies, particularly since few public universities have such policies — and certainly no competitive public university. Hey, The College of New Jersey, end Early Decision! This report should be filed away with the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Turning the Tide report of a few years back…in a manilla folder within an aluminum cabinet in the basement beneath the hurricane shutters.
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