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This Week in Admissions News | Week 22

JUN 16, 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. US Supreme Court asks for input from the Biden administration on a case against race-conscious admissions at Harvard

Last month, Harvard filed an opposition urging the US Supreme Court to turn away a case presented by an anti-Affirmative Action group against the university’s admission practices claiming it “engages in racial balancing.” Harvard argued that the organization was “trying to undermine long-standing precedent allowing schools to promote on-campus diversity by considering the racial makeup of their student bodies.” This week, the court asked President Biden’s administration to weigh in on whether it should take the case, signaling an interest among the Justices; but the media has pointed out “it is likely the new administration will side with the university.”

Crimson’s Take: As we understand it, Affirmative Action seeks to promote fair access to educational opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds, and especially those who face obstacles due to their race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. We believe Harvard’s consideration of race is well-intended and aligns with its efforts to build a diverse student body, and we can appreciate that the university’s admissions process aims to nurture applicants from marginalized groups who may not otherwise get an equal chance at admission.

2. In-person college tours have become a hot commodity as COVID restrictions subside

For well over a year, colleges have put in-person campus tours on hold amid COVID circumstances; but with most universities set to reopen this fall in a near-pre-pandemic capacity, tours are back in action. However, with COVID limitations ongoing, “many schools have curbed the number of tours or family groups that can attend, creating a scrum for available spots.” Many college admissions experts pointed to the inability for students to visit campuses as one reason for record-high application numbers at top unis, so some speculate that limited access to tours leading up to the next admissions cycle (in addition to extended test-optional policies) could result in another ultra-competitive year for applications to the Class of 2026.

Crimson’s Take: We know that campus tours can be an integral part of a student’s school selection process — which explains why, in the absence of tours last year, so many students submitted applications to universities they may have otherwise ruled out! We’re thrilled to know that some students will be able to visit their potential future colleges this summer, even though capacity is limited. And if these limitations contribute to another year of massive applicant pools, we say ‘Bring it on!’ At Crimson, we believe that with the right resources, any qualified student can beat the competition and gain admission to world-leading universities — and we look forward to helping Class of 2026 applicants on their journey to even the most competitive schools!

3. Select student-athletes at Stanford will be able to enroll early in a new pilot program beginning this fall

Stanford has announced a change to its admissions policy under which admitted student-athletes will have the option to finish high school early and enrol as freshmen in the spring semester prior to the typical fall start of their classmates. The program “is likely to apply primarily to football players” and aims to align Stanford’s admission process with “those institutions with which the university generally competes for recruits.” The university’s Faculty Senate recommended that the pilot program be limited to 15 students per year, and the Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid will conduct a review of students’ experiences to determine whether to renew or modify the policy.

Crimson’s Take: We understand that this policy may prompt conversations in the admissions sphere about fair treatment of non-athletes, but we’re optimistic about the level of caution with which Stanford is proceeding. With the knowledge that the program will be thoroughly reviewed in the first three years of its implementation and will be limited to a small number of highly-qualified students during that time, Stanford hopefuls can be reassured that student-athletes are not being favored above non-athletes. We’ll be keeping our ears out for updates on this one!

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