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This Week in Admissions News | Week 16

MAY 06, 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. Harvard becomes the last Ivy League university to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for returning students 

Last week the list of US universities to announce vaccine requirements beginning in the fall grew to over 100. This week, Harvard — a notable absence from the list — joined the pack with a statement outlining plans for “a full return to campus in the coming fall semester” including a requirement for all students returning to campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The statement points out that in the two weeks since all adults in the US became eligible to receive the vaccine, “appointments have become more readily available” vaccine supplies have “ramped up considerably,” making the “high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community” more attainable.

Crimson’s Take: When Rutgers University became the first US university to mandate vaccines for students and staff, we said we hoped their announcement would spark a trend in the US — and in just over a month, more than 100 universities have followed the same path! We’re glad to see that not only has the volume of universities announcing vaccine requirements grown substantially, but many of the country’s most influential universities — including all eight Ivies — are demonstrating their commitment to safety and a return to pre-COVID normalcy for their students.

2. All 8 Ivy League presidents announce expectations to return to regular athletic competition across all sports in the fall

After more than three canceled sports seasons, the Ivy League announced in a joint statement from its Council of Presidents this week that all 8 universities will resume sporting competition starting in fall 2021. They noted the nationwide decline of COVID-19 cases and wide availability of vaccines, adding that they are “optimistic that [Ivy League] campuses will be back to something close to normal by this fall.” The fall 2021 season will mark the first Ivy League sporting competitions since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Crimson’s Take: The encouraging pandemic news continues! We know how disappointed Ivy League student-athletes have been with the cancellation of sporting competitions season after season. While we’ve always stood behind the Ivy League’s ‘better safe than sorry’ approach, we’re thrilled to hear that the conference is anticipating safe enough circumstances to bring back athletics in their full capacity in the upcoming semester.

3. Admissions authorities argue in favor of the US’s most competitive colleges admitting more students

With the most prestigious universities in the US reporting record-high application numbers, resulting in record-low acceptance rates in the current application cycle, voices of authority in the college admissions space have been calling for ultra-competitive institutions to admit more students — “either by growing, starting new campuses or educating their students in new ways.” In op-eds for large news outlets like the New York Times, experts have made the case for top universities to make elite education more accessible, especially for lower-income and minority students, by finding ways to enroll more applicants as admissions inevitably become more competitive.

Crimson’s Take: This year, we’ve seen truly unprecedented circumstances ripple throughout the college admissions sphere in ways nobody could have anticipated. We know first-hand, from working with some of the brightest and most talented students around the world, that many deserving young people are missing out on an education from their dream universities simply because there is not enough space for them. We understand this issue is complex and there is no perfect solution, but if universities have the means to expand and accept more students, of course we support it! We believe that access to higher education should never be limited to students with financial, legacy, location or any other advantages out of their control.

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