Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

Screw Harvard!

Stop the presses: Harvard Drops 'Early Action' Admissions.

“In a change certain to shake up college admissions, Harvard University will ditch its "early action" round of applications on the grounds that it favors wealthier students over minorities and the poor. It called on other universities to follow suit.”

Despite having Ted Kennedy on its alumni roll, Harvard continues to enjoy an over-hyped reputation…and apparently its administration buys into its own press clippings:

Harvard's statement said the university would wait one year to implement the change in part to give other universities an opportunity also to drop their early programs.”

Unless they feel that this move gives them cover to do what they’ve wanted to do all along, I can’t understand why any other school would want to drop their early-decision program on account of Harvard’s decision. And it’s not as if Harvard’s always been a trailblazer here – a few years ago they were copying Yale and Stanford:

“Harvard, after experimenting with an early-action policy that allowed students to seek similar treatment from other schools, ultimately returned to a policy similar to Yale's and Stanford's.” No sanctions planned for schools violating early-admissions guidelines

Early Decision (ED) is attracting a lot of recent criticism for the usual, modern-day reasons anything gets criticized: its impact on Diversity and its attendant stress on The Children – soon to come, I’m sure, is its effect on a Woman’s Right to Choose (with a concluding paragraph on why Bush is to blame). My reaction to them all is one long exaggerated eye-roll.

Full disclosure: When I applied to colleges (admittedly a while ago), I availed myself of the ED option (Holy Cross) because I had a first choice and I didn’t want to waste money on college applications if I didn’t have to. I didn’t get in ED but I’m convinced my applying early was an important part of my eventual acceptance. With the benefit of hindsight and the wisdom of age, I have never wavered in my certainty that I got it exactly right all those years ago.

A constant refrain we have all heard is about just how bright kids are to today – especially as compared to previous generations. Maybe so but back then most of us didn’t need high-priced college counselors to help guide us through the application maze and we didn’t fret over how a USN&WR top-ranked “Regional” college stacked up against a middling “National” one…oh, and nobody had to get rid of Joe Camel on account of our not realizing he was a cartoon character.

So I simply can’t get worked up about high-school seniors stressing over a Harvard admit. It’s just too ludicrous. If the prospect of ending up at Hartford instead of Harvard is the biggest source of stress in a young person’s life, well, then it’s been a pretty good life so far. I hope most other schools echo my posting title sentiments.

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