Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Delayed college admissions

The NY Times reports on a new trend in enrollment management: Admission to College, With Catch: Year’s Wait

"Now, as colleges are increasingly swamped with applications, a small but growing number are offering a third option: guaranteed admission if the student attends another institution for a year or two and earns a prescribed grade-point average.

"This little-noticed practice — an unusual mix of early admission and delayed gratification — has allowed colleges to tap their growing pools of eager candidates to help counter the enrollment slump that most institutions suffer later on, as the accepted students drop out, transfer, study abroad or take internships off campus.

“Life happens — we all understand that the size of the freshman class diminishes as they progress,” said Barmak Nassirian, an associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in Washington. “This is an attempt at what is called enrollment management.”

"But while the practice, known as deferred admission or a guaranteed transfer option, offers applicants another shot at their dream school, it can also place them in limbo, as they start college life on a campus they plan to abandon. And it can create problems for that institution, which is not usually told about the deal the student has struck with a competitor.

"Monica Inzer, the dean of admission at Hamilton College in upstate New York, called the practice “borderline unethical,” saying it had the effect of recruiting students from other colleges. “We would allow a student to defer for a year, but never to matriculate full time at another college,” Ms. Inzer said."

1 comment:

dWj said...

The comment that recruiting away the students that another school thinks are its property is unethical is part of a general pattern I was recently thinking of, that a lot of professional organizations have codes of "ethics" that incorporate restraints on trade; competing against other suppliers of the same service in many ways is considered to be unethical, as it improves consumer welfare at a (probably smaller) cost to the cartel writing the code of "ethics". Of course, even where there is no formal code of ethics, there can be informal punishments for violation of tacit collusion; I think a lot of practitioners of various crafts view certain practices that an economist would include under "perfect competition" (such as approaching someone else's long-time customers or customers in "their" region) as improper.