Yale nears decision on admissions policy

Yale is in the final stages of determining the future of its early decision policy, Richard Shaw, the dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, said yesterday. Shaw said he hopes a decision will be made in the next couple of weeks.

A meeting of the advisory Faculty Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid Policy yesterday was the latest step in bringing a conclusion to the debate begun last December by Yale President Richard Levin’s public criticism of the current early application system.

Levin said the Yale Corporation will discuss early decision at its meeting this weekend.

Although last year Levin attempted to gain a consensus among Ivy League colleges for a collective action, Shaw said Yale may now act independently of the other schools in changing its policy.

“Will Yale make its own decision? Yes,” Shaw said. “We’ll try to make a decision we think is in the best interest of the kids.”

The faculty advisory committee, headed by Levin and Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead, talked at length about possible options for change in the early admissions policy, Shaw said.

“There were very, very interesting exchanges and thinking about models,” Shaw said.

Music professor Leon Plantinga, one of the committee members, said he is in favor of getting rid of binding early decision because he believes the current policy limits diversity.

“By the early decision [pool] I think we get particular students and they’re just fine, but I think they tend to be the same kind,” Plantinga said. “I would go for other options that would give us more breadth of diversity.”

Another committee member said she supports implementing a non-binding early action policy. She said she felt that early decision was unfair to less affluent students and that it caused high school students to make decisions about which college to attend based more on their odds of getting in than on the suitability of the school.

Shaw said the committee, which includes administrators and professors from various departments, is made up of thoughtful people working to find the best solution.

Plantinga said he was pleased by the committee’s approach.

“I thought the tenor of the conversation was very good because we weren’t simply considering what would put Yale in a better competitive position,” Plantinga said. “A lot of it had to do with — consider[ing] it from the point of view of the people making the application.”

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