Princeton Follows Harvard's Lead, Scraps Early Admissions

A week after Harvard's announcement, Princeton deals a second-blow to early-preference programs

Taking Harvard’s cue, Princeton University announced today that it will end its early admissions program and move to a single spring application deadline.

Like Harvard, Princeton’s new policy will take effect when the current class of high-school juniors applies for admission to the Class of 2012.

In announcing the move, Princeton officials echoed Harvard’s words—nearly verbatim.

Harvard’s interim president, Derek C. Bok, said last week that "early admission programs tend to advantage the advantaged.” Students from low-income families must wait until the springtime to compare various schools’ financial aid packages, while richer students whose families can afford to pay college tuition in full can take advantage of the early-admissions process.

"We agree that early admission 'advantages the advantaged,'" Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman said in a statement this afternoon. Princeton officials also said that early-admissions programs can cause high-school seniors to make “premature” college choices.

Before today’s announcement, Princeton had maintained a “binding” early decision program, which meant that applicants accepted in the fall were contractually-obligated to enroll at the New Jersey school. Harvard, by contrast, had used a “non-binding” early action system. Under that system, applicants accepted to Harvard could still opt out of enrolling here.

-Check for updates.