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Colleges Reporting Increase In Early Admissions

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

February 17, 2009

Despite the economic downturn, some colleges are reporting increases in early admission applications.

Georgia's Athens Banner-Herald reports that applications to enroll at the University of Georgia reached record highs this year, with most of the increase resulting from applications for early admission. Similarly, Syracuse University 's The Daily Orange notes that the school saw an increase of 40 early decision applications for the fall 2009 semester.

Early decision is a common early admission policy which allows students to designate a college or university as their top choice. Early decision applicants can apply as early as October in twelfth grade, can receive early notification of acceptance, and in turn must commit to enroll at that school if accepted. Many of the most selective colleges enroll a high percentage of early admission applicants.

With families stretching budgets nationwide, some high school students are declining to commit early to colleges and are instead waiting to see which college offers the least expensive option. Indeed, the Orange noted that early admissions were down at many private colleges, including Lehigh University, as students expressed reluctance to be financially bound to any school.

But other students apparently prefer to apply early. The Orange quoted high school senior Danny Cunningham, who explained that SU "was my number one choice and was the only school I applied to. I'm willing to pay whatever price it is to go."

In a related story, USA Today reports that a recent study indicates that high school students enrolling through early admission are more likely to regret their decisions later in life.

"Many young people are being pressured to making college choices before they are developmentally ready," said Barbara Schneider, a Michigan State University sociologist who authored the report and was quoted in USA Today.

A spokesperson for the National Association for College Admission Counseling agreed. A survey the group conducted in 2005 indicated that 25 percent of responding colleges accept some applicants before they begin their senior year. In addition, some recruiters waive application fees or offer priority housing to students who apply as juniors.

In recent years, several prestigious universities have adopted early action (EA) admissions policies, allowing students to apply early without requiring them to be bound to their decision. Colleges offering EA include Stanford, Yale, and Harvard.

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