Tufts will not release ED statistic this year
Published: Friday, January 18, 2008
Updated: Sunday, August 17, 2008 12:08
The admissions office will not publicize the number of Early Decision (ED) I applications it received this school year, in a move designed to make the college admissions process less stressful for future applicants, according to Director of Admissions Susan Ardizzoni.
"It's not that we're trying to be secretive or withhold information. We are trying to take a stance against the stress that Early Decision brings about for many prospective students," Ardizzoni said.
In some cases ED, which was created to help high school seniors demonstrate their undivided interest in a school, has evolved into a strategy game for students who believe from statistics that they have a better chance of being accepted if they apply for ED than if they apply for Regular Decision (RD), explained Cass Cliatt, a spokesperson for Princeton University.
Yet although statistics on the Internet seem to indicate that this trend applies to Tufts, Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin maintained that it is just as difficult to get into Tufts through ED as it is through RD.
"The admission staff reads applications in the same manner and employs the same rubrics during each phase of our selection process," he said in an e-mail. "Accordingly, the accepted profile for an ED candidate is the same as an RD applicant. Similarly, the acceptance rate is also the same, so there is no 'advantage' to applying early."
Tufts accepted 304 ED applicants into the Class of 2012, and the applicant pool's size was "comparable" to last year's, Coffin said. But he refused to release the exact number of ED applications received. This was in order to prevent people from compiling percentages, which they could contrast with the analogous percentage of RD applications accepted.
Ardizzoni said that last year, admissions "had a situation where communication went out about Early Decision, and numbers were taken out of context and were not used in an appropriate way ... For people who are not familiar with the admissions process, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
"Admissions is trying to focus more on the end project, making sure that students end up enrolling," Ardizzoni said.
Ardizzoni said that the admissions office will "probably not" release the ED Round I admission statistics. (Tufts also offers a second round of Early Decision, for which the application is due in December.)
This decision comes during a pivotal year for early-admissions programs. Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Virginia have dropped their early-admission programs. As a result, some schools using the non-binding Early Action (EA) early-application system received an enormous surge in applications, absorbing many applicants who might have applied to Harvard, Princeton or UVA.
Such EA schools included Georgetown University, which reported a 30-percent increase in its number of early applications, the University of Chicago, which reported a 42-percent increase, and Yale University, which reported a 36-percent increase.
Tufts, which does not offer an EA application option, did not experience such a surge, Coffin said. But the academic and personal profiles of the students Tufts accepted early were "very strong," he told the Daily.
And even with the non-binding EA surge, Georgetown's Dean of Admissions Charles Deacon reported in a Nov. 15 Wall Street Journal article that he expects only half of all early acceptances to enroll.
Calling the EA surge a "mixed blessing for institutions as well as for us," Coffin said that those non-binding offers given by schools like Georgetown will make it more difficult for universities like Tufts to model their selection efforts in April to produce the correct class size by May 1.
"With our binding option, we did not experience the huge surge that was reported at non-binding early action universities," Coffin said.
Coffin also explained that Tufts has no plan to adopt an EA policy. "[EA] is not even on the table for discussion," he said. "A binding early application is an opportunity for a student to declare a first choice. That is the case at Tufts, and that declaration by the student merits the earlier decision on our end."
Coffin added that he expects the socioeconomic profile of the Class of 2012 to resemble that of the Class of 2011. "With financial aid resources increasing via the capital campaign, we will likely see smaller, but nevertheless meaningful, increases in the socioeconomic diversity of each entering class," he said.
Coffin said that the dramatic increase in financial aid that Tufts enacted last year would not necessarily be replicated every year. "[Last year's] increase reflected a significant influx of new resources that reset our budget parameters," he said.
Tufts' announcement that it would replace loans with grants for students from low-income families had no impact on the ED Round I pool because the announcement was made after the ED deadline.
Not everyone supports Tufts' decision to withhold applicant numbers, especially students who have been through the early-admission process themselves.
"To me, Tufts' decision to not release Early Decision numbers doesn't make sense," said Harvard sophomore Azeemah Kola, who applied EA to Harvard when the program still existed.
Kola emphasized that she thinks withholding the numbers actually makes the early application process more confusing, and therefore more stressful, because applicants then have no data with which to evaluate Tufts' application process.
"When it comes to deciding on a school to apply to early, I wouldn't be surprised if some students neglected Tufts because they would feel that they are lacking a large part of necessary information," she said. "The only way to really combat the stress of Early Decision is to get rid of it."
"The type of kids who apply to schools like Tufts worry about admissions statistics regardless of whether or not they are released," said Tufts freshman Gabe Klein, who applied to Tufts ED. "If I were choosing between two schools, I would probably choose the school that released their Early Decision statistics."