Early Decision Adopted at Brown
Heavy workload cited for policy change
In a dramatic turnaround, Interim President Shelia E. Blumstein announced Saturday that Brown University will return to an early decision admissions policy for the Class of 2006 after just changing to an open early action policy in 1998.
Instead of allowing students to apply early to more than one school, Brown's policy will make early applications binding beginning with the class of 2006.
Two years ago, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling ruled that early action schools like Brown could not restrict applicants to only one early action school.
This change led to a more than 65-percent increase in applications, resulting in a "workload that has stretched the admission staff and alumni interviewers to the limit," according to a Brown press release
Brown's Office of Admissions Director Michael Goldberger said the early action policy was an inefficient process.
"Clearly, we are now evaluating application materials from thousands of students who have not yet narrowed their sights on Brown," he said in a press release. "We have, in effect, simply moved the regular admissions process several months forward."
Brown's early decision policy makes it clear that there will be "no strategic advantage to applying early," according to the Brown press release.
Some high school college counselors said they are suspicious of Brown's motives.
"It was like opening the floodgates with multiple early action. Harvard enjoys an 80% yield, but Brown was probably doing more work for less return," said Michael Denning, college counselor at Nobles and Greenough School a private school in Dedham, MA.
Harvard's Office of Admissions Director Marlyn McGrath-Lewis '73 said Brown's decisions are most likely intended to insure that applicants to Brown are certain of their interest in the university.
"Of course I can't speak for them, but I expect they expect that early decision will bring them a higher degree of certainty in their enrollments," McGrath-Lewis wrote in an e-mail.
McGrath-Lewis does not expect a chain reaction with regard to reversals in admissions policy from other colleges.
"I don't think the change will have any great significance for Ivy admissions," McGrath-Lewis wrote,
Harvard, however, has no intention of changing its early action policy.
"We are very well served by our early action program," McGrath-Lewis wrote. "Our Faculty commitee believes strongly in the education principle that it is important for students to have the benefit of othe senior year before committing finally to a college."