Silver Chips Online

Princeton follows Harvard in abolishing early decision

Princeton hopes to diversify applicants

By David Jia, Online Blair Connections Editor
September 22, 2006
Princeton University became the second Ivy League school to drop their early admission program on Monday in favor of one single process in admitting all undergraduate applicants. The new policy will go into effect for undergraduate class of 2012. Their decision follows Harvard, who dropped their early action policy last week.

According to university spokesperson Cass Cliatt, minority and financial disadvantaged students who are "usually left out of the [application] process" will have fairer opportunities under the new policy.

Princeton's significant amount of financial resources has resulted in 40 percent of their student population consisting of minorities, according to College Board. Despite their "groundbreaking financial aid policy" that allows many "students to graduate debt-free," Cliatt said, Princeton still wishes to "further diversify" the undergraduates enrolled each year.

Career counseling center assistant Cathy Henderson-Stein believes that this change is significant not only because of the "healthy choice" in being able to compare financial packages before making a decision, but also because "people pay attention to what Princeton does." Though Harvard and Princeton both urge other elite universities to follow suit with the single application policy, Henderson-Stein thinks it may take years before most universities adopt the policy.

In contrast to Harvard's early action policy, Princeton's early decision program is binding, meaning if students who are admitted in from the November admissions are required to attend the school.

Princeton is not using the two-to-three year trial period that Harvard is currently using. Princeton has had an early decision policy since 1996.