November 8, 2002

Staff Editorial

Both Stanford and Yale announced Wednesday that they will drop their early decision programs in favor of the non-binding early action. While we at the Maroon feel that this is a step in the right direction, we believe that there are structural flaws in the entire college application process. Rarely are high school seniors cognizant of what type of college experience will most benefit them. Perceptions often change from November to April of senior year. By locking students into one school in December, the system is doing them a disservice. The combined efforts of college counselors, who so eagerly advocate early application, and the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which imply significant qualitative differences among top-tier institutions, condition students into thinking they must get into the most highly-ranked school possible, regardless of whether it's a good fit.

Universities should work together to streamline and standardize the admissions process and move it away from early admission programs. This will prevent students from getting locked into one school in December and will allow them more time to make their final decisions about where to spend the next four years. The Justice Department has suggested that collusion among schools may violate antitrust laws. While we recognize the fact that top schools are vying for money in their competition for students, higher education should not be approached in the same manner as the corporate world. Instead, the interests of the students must be protected. We contend that a more uniform process among these schools would do the greatest service to high school seniors. We hope that universities and the government will cooperate to break the vicious competition for high ratings that ultimately does more harm than good.