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Roads Diverge

How Many Ways are There to Get Into College?

With students submitting a torrential downpour of college applications these days, it is inevitable for waitlists to be overflowing with strong pre-college candidates. More and more universities are attempting to “work the numbers” and find artful ways to accept additional students who, although not necessarily the top intellectual choices, might come from families that can afford the price tag of tuition—making these students great financial choices. So how do some universities squeeze in more students while raising school revenue?

Universities as diverse as U Miami, Northeastern, and Harvard are among the ever growing group to devise quiet and creative admissions techniques that add more full-paying students while alleviating fall crowding on campus. Multifarious institutions request upperclassmen to move off campus, others reduce the number of previously accepted transfer students, and increasingly, some schools offer high school seniors admittance in spring or summer semester. It is important to understand how colleges and universities can “win” by using this admission technique. Most students who are offered late admission do not have the high standardized test scores of first choice applicants. However, these colleges and universities simply do not include the test scores of “late-admits” when reckoning and reporting the fall class average for SATs or ACTs. In this way, the schools keep their high ranking in coveted publications like U.S. News & World Report while also receiving the full tuition from families of students with less than preferred standardized scores and/or GPA.

Colby College in Main offers places to students who are willing to begin in January and take their fall semester at a Colby-sponsored program in Europe. Harvard University decided to decrease its number of transfer applicants in favor of accepting more intellectually interesting or talented high school seniors (among those students, however, are many legacies who, for whatever reasons, did not make the first cut).

Students should assess whether gaining admission to their dream schools in the aforementioned way makes up for the stress they may encounter when attempting to fit all of their pre-professional pre-requisites into the remaining time on campus, or rectifies the loss of connection to their freshman class—an association often forged during fall semester bonding.

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