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Early Action Changes Cause Flux in Admits

By Graeme C. A. wood, Contributing Writer

New early action policies at some selective colleges may have contributed to dramatic changes in the numbers of early applications and acceptances, admissions officers said yesterday.

For some colleges that are sending out letters to early applicants this week, the percentage of acceptances has dropped significantly from previous years.

While the number of applicants to Harvard, Brown and MIT surged, the number of students accepted did not change much, resulting in a lower early admittance percentage.

The changes from previous years are due in part to new policies adopted by

some selective schools, said MIT Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones. Brown, Georgetown and Harvard now allow students to apply to multiple schools under "early action" plans MIT has always permitted early applicants to apply to other schools, Jones said. However, up until this year, early action applicants (who are not bound to attend if they are admitted) to Brown, Georgetown and Harvard were restricted from applying to more than one school.

The results of the changes have been dramatic. At Brown, early applications

climbed to 4,922, 65 percent more than last year. This year, Brown admitted 1,037, or 21.1 percent, according to Director of Admissions Michael Goldberger. Last year Brown admitted 24 percent of its early applicant pool--720 students in total--according to the admission office's Web site.

Georgetown admissions officials could not be reached yesterday.

The number of applications to Princeton and Yale stayed roughly the same, and the percentages of students admitted to Yale and Princeton were unavailable yesterday.

At the University of Pennsylvania--a university with a binding early decision program--the number of applicants rose only moderately, from 2,165 to 2,570. Penn admitted 997, or 82 more than last year, according to Kristen Buppert of the Penn admissions office.

The Yale Daily News reported that application rates in New Haven rose by only 2 percent.

Princeton, which requires that early applicants apply to Princeton exclusively, received about the same number of applications this year as last year, according to the Daily Princetonian.

MIT's Jones said the volume of applications is due in large part to the changes in policy at other schools.

"We had a huge lift this year," Jones said. "The change is part of it, but it's not the whole thing."

Jones said the climb at MIT and at other schools is also due to a larger number of young people applying to college. Numbers are rising because early action and early decision programs are looking more attractive to high school students, according to Jones.

MIT's early applicant pool rose from 2,188 in 1998 to 3,080 this year. MIT accepted 541 early applicants, 31 more than last year.

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