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This Week in Admissions News | Week 6

FEB 25, 2021

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students planning to apply to universities, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. We’ve rounded up the latest news and given our take on what it means for future and current college students. Check back each week to see what’s new!

1. Despite soaring application numbers at top US universities in 2020, less-selective colleges saw an alarming decline in interest

The 2020-21 application season will be historically competitive for schools in the Ivy League, with Harvard, Brown and other leading universities reporting record-high application numbers for the class of 2025. However, some smaller and less recognizable schools have reported the opposite, with application numbers so low that several have extended their application deadlines in hopes of attracting more students. For example, the State University of New York, the largest public college system in the country, received 14 percent fewer applications this year compared to last.

Crimson’s Take: The dramatic increase in applications submitted to top universities in the US re-enforces what we already know about the sky-high value of an education from places like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT and others like them. However, there’s something to be said for exploring universities beyond the big-name institutions we’re all familiar with! It’s important to consider how your unique interests and goals align with a school’s academic, extracurricular and post-grad opportunities before settling on where to apply. We hope that by helping students weigh all their options and find the best-fit schools for them, we can do our part to help close the gap between the best-known unis and smaller ones with just as much merit.

2. The National Education Equity Lab is enrolling underprivileged high school students in Ivy League courses — and they’re crushing it

An initiative started by a New York-based nonprofit called the National Education Equity Lab is helping high school students who consider prestigious schools to be far out of their reach enrol in courses at Harvard, Yale, Cornell and other top universities. The high schoolers “met the same rigorous standards of the course[s]” created for admitted students, from listening to lectures, taking quizzes and completing essays, “and they were graded by the same standards.” The most inspiring part? 86 percent of students who have completed such courses passed them and earned credits offered by “an ever-expanding consortium” of participating colleges.

Crimson’s Take: Crimson was founded on the belief that elite education should be available to any qualified student that’s willing to put in the effort to get there — so we’re thrilled to learn about initiatives like this, which help talented students overcome circumstantial obstacles to pursue life-changing opportunities. We’d love to see programs of this nature expand to countries beyond the US, too, because we’ve witnessed firsthand the capability of young people across the globe with the ideas and ambition to make serious waves in the future.

3. Brown University student athletes express their grievances over the Ivy League’s decision to cancel spring sports

On a television news broadcast, three Brown baseball players shared the most frustrating parts about the cancellation of the 2021 spring sports season. One called the news “a tough pill to swallow,” claiming “there was a lack of clarity [and] transparency” from the Ivy League as student athletes awaited a decision. Another said the cancellation was “saddening and disheartening,” especially for players in their final year, while the third noted “there was a lot of effort to get us to play, and no matter what we did, [the Ivy League] felt as though competition was not safe for us. It was tough.”

Crimson’s Take: We can understand student athletes’ disappointment upon learning that the Ivy League’s spring sports season — which, for some, would have been their final season — was cancelled. At the same time, we understand that universities have a duty to keep their students safe and to comply with stringent restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We can only hope that by the time the fall semester arrives, considerable progress will have been made on college campuses across the US, for the sake of all athletes and non-athletes alike.

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