Admissions review gains momentum

Yale has begun to accelerate its annual review of University admissions policies this week, as admissions changes continue to build national momentum following the University of Virginia’s announcement Monday that it will follow Harvard and Princeton in dropping the early admissions deadline.

The Advisory Committee on Yale College Admissions and Financial Aid Policy ­— a President’s Office standing committee co-chaired by Yale President Richard Levin and Yale College Dean Peter Salovey — met for the first time this year on Tuesday. While the first meeting focused on preliminary discussions, the recommendations it makes will be an integral part of Yale’s decision-making process.

Yale’s committee will meet more frequently this year than it has in some previous years, Levin said, in order to discuss the University’s early admissions policy in light of the changes made by its peers.

“We’ll be meeting more or less monthly during the fall so that we can talk about this issue,” he said. “Some years, we meet once a year, other years much more frequently.”

The committee is made up of seven faculty members ­­— astronomy professor Charles Bailyn, biology professor Ronald Breaker, history professor Joanne Freeman, economics professor Gerald Jaynes, political science professor Ellen Lust-Okar, political science professor Ian Shapiro, and English professor Ruth Yeazell ­— as well as Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel, Levin said.

Salovey said that while the committee does not possess formal decision-making power, it allows top University administrators who determine admissions policies for the coming year to weigh the opinions of faculty members.

“The committee, which is made up largely of faculty members in Yale College, serves as a source of advice and as a sounding-board for the president, dean of Yale College, and dean of undergraduate admissions,” Salovey said in an e-mail.

Brenzel said the advisory committee is only one portion of the University’s process to examine early admissions.

“This advisory group will be asked for some input in the early admissions item,” Brenzel said. “This group will simply be one of the places where input is gathered.”

Professor emeritus of music Leon Plantinga, who served on the committee in 2002 when the University changed from binding early decision to single-choice early action, said he thinks the current system works well and that it is too early to determine the effects of the elimination of early admissions programs.

“It seems to me the new policy hasn’t been around long enough for anybody to have a very clear view about how it is working, but my impressions are that it is a good thing as it is,” Plantinga said in an e-mail.

The Yale Corporation serves an advisory role on admissions, Levin said, although it is not the formal responsibility of the University’s highest decision-making body to consider annual admissions policy reviews. Decisions on admissions policy changes can be made without input from the Corporation, although, as was the case in 2002, the Corporation will likely lend its expertise. Bailyn said there was no mention of the upcoming Corporation meeting at the advisory committee’s meeting, and Levin said he does not discuss the Corporation’s agenda in advance.

The inaugural meeting of the committee served more as an introduction for the members, Freeman said, and the group did not yet make any formal decisions about policy changes or review.

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  • fillupwho

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