For the last few years, early action applications have kept the Cambridge post office busy in early November--and this season is no exception.
Another year has brought another record as preliminary numbers released by the admissions office show 6,098 early action applicants for the Class of 2005, an increase of 72 applications or 1.2 percent over last year's 6,026 applications.
While the early applicant pool is larger this year, the rate of growth has plummeted from the 31.8 percent Harvard experienced last year.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons '67 said that he is pleased with the trend.
"It appears that interest in early programs has leveled off," Fitzsimmons said. "Counselors have been saying that at their own schools, questions about early action have calmed down this year."
While Harvard's non-binding early action program is almost a quarter-century old, participation in the program skyrocketed during the past decade, accelerating even further in 1995-96 when several other schools moved to binding early decision programs, which require students to attend if admitted.
Admissions officials attributed last year's extraordinary growth to a change in Harvard policy that allowed early action applicants to apply to more than one school early.
Fitzsimmons emphasizes, however, that as in past years students have no better chance of admission to Harvard when they apply early.
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