Yale and Stanford end binding early admission programs

Nov. 20, 2002, midnight | By Branden Buehler | 21 years ago

Yale and Stanford decided two weeks ago to end their binding early acceptance programs and instead move to non-binding early programs. The new programs will take effect next year.

Both Yale and Stanford cited a desire to remove pressure on high school seniors as reasons for no longer requiring a binding commitment. Yale also referred to students not being able to compare financial aid packages as a cause for ending the binding program.

In a news release on Yale's website, Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead said "We adopted early decision for the sake of the rare student who knows exactly where he or she wants to go by mid-fall of the senior year of high school. We never meant the early cycle to become the normal cycle. Today's announcement will allow applicants the freedom to give this decision the time and thought it deserves."

In a report on Stanford's website, Stanford University President John Hennessy issued a similar statement. "This new policy offers those who have set their hearts on attending Stanford the opportunity to apply early in their senior year, without the additional pressure of having to commit before they are ready. We believe this is the right thing to do for Stanford and for our prospective students," he said.

Guidance counselor Dorothy Wiseman was delighted about the decision. Wiseman called the early decision programs "a horrible disservice to students," due to its favoring of the very affluent students, who do not need to rely on comparisons of financial aid packages.

Wiseman believed that "a lot of students are going to start applying" to Yale and Stanford now that they made the change. She hopes this will motivate other schools to end their binding programs.

Students are also glad to see an end to the binding programs. Junior Joe Kramer, who said he is considering applying early to Stanford or Yale, said their new early acceptance programs makes it much more likely he will apply to one of them early. "It will allow me to see my acceptance, but without having to be obligated to go until I see my later acceptances," he said.

One peculiarity to Yale and Stanford's new early programs is that students cannot apply early to any other school's non-binding program, which is a violation of a National Association for College Admission Counseling rule that says students can apply to as many early non-binding programs as they wish. Stanford said on its website that it hopes to enter into conversations with the National Association for College Admission Counseling to talk about the rule.

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Branden Buehler. Branden Buehler is a senior in the magnet program. When he is not doing schoolwork, work for Silver Chips Online, or swimming for the Blair swim team, he could possibly be found playing foosball or playing his guitar and recording songs in a futile attempt … More »

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