Harvard Brings Back Early Admission

By Jess Bidgood

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Feb. 24, 2011

Harvard Unversity is once again opening its gates to early-admissions candidates. Here, the school's Widener Library. (Will Hart/Flickr)

BOSTON — Harvard undergraduate hopefuls will once again have the option of applying early to the university.

Harvard's so-called "non-binding early admissions program" allows students to apply to Harvard in the fall and learn whether they had been admitted, deferred or rejected by December.

But university officials did away with the option in 2007 out of concern "for students at under-resourced high schools who might not be able to access the early admissions process,” said Harvard University president Drew Faust in a statement.

Princeton University and the University of Virginia quickly did the same — but few other schools followed suit.

Now, says Michael D. Smith, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Harvard is seeing students at all income levels interested in early action.

"We looked carefully at trends in Harvard admissions these past years and saw that many highly talented students, including some of the best-prepared low-income and underrepresented minority students, were choosing programs with an early-action option, and therefore were missing out on the opportunity to consider Harvard," Smith said in a statement.

Applicants for the Class of 2016 will get access to the early-admissions program, which limits students from applying early to other schools but does not require admitted students to accept a spot at Harvard until the regular deadline of May 1.

Harvard will roll out new recruiting programs aimed at providing more transparency to the admissions process and targeting schools where few students apply early to college. The university is also increasing financial aid to coincide with a tuition increase.

Shortly after Harvard's Thursday morning announcement, Princeton University said it would restore its early-admissions program, too. 

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