Every year, there comes some reshuffling of practices and policies governing submission of college applications. And this year is no exception, as institutions work to control the management and flow of paper while still keeping an eye on the “business” of college admissions.
It’s no secret that colleges want to increase applicant pools, improve yield, and find ways to identify best-fit applicants who will not only return after freshman year but also graduate within four to six years of matriculation.
But once they get applications in the door, admissions offices face some very real management issues. And most are neither increasing staff nor budgets for application review.
To tackle the problem of providing thorough reviews of growing numbers of applications, colleges adjust application deadlines and requirements. Some of the more popular changes for this year include:
- Shifting deadlines: By moving deadlines up, college administrators provide staff with more time to organize and review applications. And by shifting the entire process forward, colleges have the additional benefit of being able to notify students sooner and possibly get a jump on the competition. But a few colleges, like Georgia Tech, reconsidered overly-aggressive deadlines and loosened up a little by moving them back a few weeks.
- Adding new early admission (EA and ED) options: Students applying under these early programs provide a “demonstrated interest” element to their applications and are rewarded with early notifications. And colleges using ED and EDII benefit from being able to “lock in” students with binding commitments. These policies not only help admissions offices control the flow of application materials coming into the office but also make “yield” a little more predictable for the head counters.
- Reducing dependence on standardized tests: A number of colleges announced new test “optional” or “flexible” policies this year, even as late as last week. In fact, the list published by FairTest now includes 875 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions that do not require all or many applicants to submit test scores.
- Improving efficiency through technology: Colleges are increasingly signing on with electronic providers such as the Common Application, the Universal College Application, and other application products more specifically tailored to their needs. In addition, colleges are transitioning to online reading, thereby reducing paper and the need for extra support staff.
Locally, American University added Early Decision II. Emory & Henry, Roanoke, and Virginia Intermont joined the Common Application. St. Mary’s College of Maryland became an “exclusive” member of the Common Application and did away with most of the old supplement including the video essay option.
Other colleges reporting changes include (EA = early action; ED = early decision; RD = regular decision):
- Agnes Scott College moved RD back to 3/15
- American University added EDII (1/15)
- Augsburg College added EA (11/15) and EAII (12/15)
- Bentley University moved EA up to 11/1
- Boston College added a supplemental essay (and the choices are challenging)
- Boston University no longer requires Subject Tests
- Carroll University added ED (11/15)
- Centre College added ED (12/1) and EDII (1/15)
- Champlain College added EDII (1/1)
- Claremont McKenna College moved ED up to 11/1
- Clark University is now Test Optional
- College of St. Rose is now Test Optional
- College of Wooster moved ED up to 11/1 and added EDII (1/15)
- Columbia University now allows Score Choice
- Drew University moved ED back to 11/15 and dropped EDII and EA
- Drexel University added ED (11/15) and set RD deadline (1/15)
- Earlham College moved ED up to 11/1 and EA up to 12/1
- Flagler College moved RD up to 3/1
- Georgia Tech moved EA back to 10/15
- Hope College added EA (11/1)
- Illinois College added EAII (2/15)
- Immaculata University added EA (12/1)
- Ithaca College added EA (12/1) and went Test Optional
- Lees-McRea is now Test Optional
- Lycoming College added EA (11/1)
- Miami of Ohio moved ED back to 11/15
- Middlebury College moved ED up to 11/10
- Moravian College eliminated EA
- Mount St. Mary added ED (11/15) and EA (1/10)
- New York Institute of Technology added EA (12/1)
- Nichols College added EA (12/1)
- Notre Dame de Namur University added EAII (2/1)
- Ohio State University joined the Common Application
- Otterbein University eliminated EA and online applications submitted after 11/1 will no longer be free
- Providence College added ED (12/1)
- Quinnipiac University moved ED back to 11/1
- Rhode Island School of Design joined the Common Application
- Santa Clara University added ED (11/1) in addition to EA (11/1)
- Sarah Lawrence adopted a “Test Optional” policy and will now consider scores if submitted
- St. John’s College (Annapolis and Santa Fe) added EA (11/15) and EAII (1/15)
- Stetson University eliminated ED
- Susquehanna University moved ED back to 12/1
- University of Connecticut added EA (12/1) and moved RD up to 1/15
- University of Kentucky moved EA back to 1/15
- University of Rochester is now Test Flexible and moved EDII up to 1/1
- University of San Diego eliminated EA and moved RD up to 12/15
- University of Tennessee joined the Common Application
- Washington & Lee moved ED up to 11/1
- Wofford College added EA (11/15)
Please note that all admissions policies are subject to change at any time. And in fact, some may be rethinking policies at this very minute. So check and re-check individual college websites for the most up-to-date information on deadlines and requirements.