Nov. 2, 2006
Vol. 26 No. 4

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    University to continue Early Action admissions policy

    By Julia Morse
    News Office

    Although some colleges may be eliminating systems of early admission, the University will not be changing its Early Action option, a plan which has none of the restrictions or disadvantages to students inherent in most of the other early application plans.

    A perceived disadvantage for minority and less-affluent applicants has prompted other universities to abolish early admissions programs. But after conducting in-depth research, University administrators have concluded that the College’s current non-binding Early Action program should remain as it is.

    “Our Early Action program offers students the opportunity to apply early without any restrictions or commitment. It provides both increased choice and no disadvantage for those from less-affluent families, avoiding the problems associated with other more restrictive programs,” said President Zimmer. “We will continue to monitor our program to ensure that it continues to benefit our applicants and the College.”

    University administrators, including Zimmer, Provost Richard Saller, John Boyer, Dean of the College, and several faculty committees participated in these deliberations to evaluate what would present the most balanced opportunities to College applicants. These groups’ analyses confirmed that Chicago’s Early Action program does not create an unfair advantage for the more affluent students or any disadvantage for those less financially privileged.

    “We carefully reviewed our Early Action program in light of our fundamental commitment to making a University of Chicago education accessible to talented students, regardless of family financial resources,” said Kenneth Warren, Deputy Provost for Minority Affairs and Research and the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor. “In many respects, our program, in contrast to early decision programs at other institutions, allows us to admit more students of limited means, while enabling those students to be sure they are getting the best possible financial aid packages.”

    Michael Behnke, Vice President and Dean of College Enrollment, noted that the Office of College Admissions has a fair and balanced system of providing financial aid and that students who apply late in the application process are not put at a disadvantage for receiving aid.

    “Our Early Action program provides a valuable choice to students who have Chicago as their first choice or one of their top choices,” Behnke said.

    He added that another valuable trait of the non-binding Early Action program is that it is a very low-stress application system. “If admitted, those who have Chicago as their first choice can turn their attention to having a great senior year in high school without anxiety over the admissions process,” Behnke said.