Dean Acknowledges Early Admission Disparity

Despite several Harvard initiatives to recruit high-achieving, low-income students, the College’s early action program tends to advantage applicants from higher income brackets in the short run, a trend that is expected to “continue to be the case for the foreseeable future,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 told The Crimson in an interview Tuesday.

Harvard continues to combat this with efforts like the recent launch of the Harvard College Connection, but Fitzsimmons explained that a lack resources at the high schools of many low-income students still remains an issue.


“What tends to happen with people of modest economic backgrounds is they tend to disproportionately attend schools where there are fewer counselors per student. Many also attend schools where there are fewer teachers per student,” he said.

Fitzsimmons added that these applicants are often first-generation college students.

Historically, early pools have contained fewer students from modest economic backgrounds when compared to the regular admission applicant pool, according to Fitzsimmons.

This disparity in representation did not come as a surprise to Bari Norman, president of Expert Admissions.

“Just as we know, [high-income] students have access to greater resources. As a result, they have a better handle on the process, and they’ll be more prepared, even if just by meeting the basic requirements to complete an application and submit it earlier,” Norman said.