Early applications on rise at colleges
"High school seniors hoping for an advance nod from Harvard University have swamped it with an unusually large group of early applications that represent the most economically and ethnically diverse set of students in the school’s history.
"Harvard canceled its early action program in 2006 because of worries that privileged applicants were getting an edge and holding back attempts to recruit a more diverse student population, a fear backed up by studies showing that early deadlines tend to draw a whiter, richer applicant pool than conventional winter and spring cutoff dates do.
"But the school reinstated the program this year and announced yesterday that it drew 4,245 applicants, an increase from the 4,010 who applied in 2006. Almost 72 percent of this year’s applicants need financial aid, and numbers of African-American, Latino, and Native American students are all up."
The Flock of Early Birds Keeps Growing
"In the end, the story of early-action in 2011 is not really about what happens at the most-selective colleges (they will be just fine, by any measure). The story’s really about how, in the wild ecosystem of enrollment, one institution’s actions and policies will affect another—and what that will mean for individual students down the line.
"At Georgetown, Mr. Deacon suspects that Harvard and Princeton siphoned many early applicants out of his institution’s pool this year. So he expects that Georgetown’s yield for early-action applications, which dropped from 60 percent to 46 percent back in 2007, will go back up to where it used to be, which would be good news for the university."
Harvard College Receives 4,245 Early Applications
"“Early admission programs tend to advantage the advantaged,” then-Interim University President Derek C. Bok said in a statement in 2006. “Students from more sophisticated backgrounds and affluent high schools often apply early to increase their chances of admission, while minority students and students from rural areas, other countries, and high schools with fewer resources miss out.”
This story in the NY Times Choice blog starts with a good table listing schools with binding early decision (including some universities with two rounds of binding early decision), non-binding early action, and restrictive/single-choice early action. (They even have a printer-friendly version of their chart.)