Harvard, Princeton Reinstate Early Admission

On February 24, both Princeton and Harvard announced the reinstatement of their early admission programs.

"In 2006, Princeton and Harvard ended early admission completely, declaring it unfair to disadvantaged students. … Now, Harvard and Princeton join Stanford and Yale with a non-binding early action program," writes The Washington Post's Daniel de Vise. "Students who apply early to either school cannot apply anywhere else. That caveat ensures that the schools get a high yield of admitted students who choose to attend."

"Harvard has made a commitment in recent years to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds, even as it increased financial aid to help middle and even upper income families pay for college," writes The Boston Globe's Tracy Jan. "College officials say that the return to early admissions will be accompanied by enhancements to its recruitment of a diverse pool of students, including visits to high schools where few students apply early to college."

"We piloted the elimination of early action out of concern that college admissions had become too complex and pressured for all students, and out of particular concern for students at under-resourced high schools who might not be able to access the early admissions process," says Harvard President Drew Faust. "Over the past several years, however, interest in early admissions has increased, as students and families from across the economic spectrum seek certainty about college choices and financing. Our goal now is to reinstitute an early-action program consistent with our bedrock commitment to access, affordability, and excellence."

"We have carefully reviewed our single admission program every year, and we have been very pleased with how it has worked," says Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman. "But in eliminating our early program four years ago, we hoped other colleges and universities would do the same and they haven't. One consequence is that some students who really want to make their college decision as early as possible in their senior year apply to other schools early, even if their first choice is Princeton."

"One of our foremost goals in eliminating an early program was to encourage excellent students from a broad array of backgrounds and geographical areas to consider Princeton, and to assure them that their applications would be reviewed with the same care and attention as every other applicant," says Princeton Dean of Admission Janet Lavin Rapelye. "Our single admission program helped us to make progress toward those goals, to which we remain fully committed. We are confident we can achieve them while also allowing students who are ready to apply early to do so."