Harvard ends early action

Harvard is getting rid of early action — This strikes me as an all-around good thing. The early-action system is a bizarre opt-in system whereby wealthy, reasonably bright high school students voluntarily enter a meat-market of academic recruiting. In my view, a lot of the psychotic behavior you see from these applicants and their parents (harassing admissions offices, spending thousands of dollars on prep courses, and worse) comes from the fact that it really is a buyer’s market out there. The applicant has no real power, which leads fo a kind of desparation on their part. The universities love it, however — they make out like bandits. All this crap about how “doing away with early action won’t help diversity” is just their way of trying to keep the status quo, which I would argue is a morally indefensible position.

The grad school application process is completely different at the top, from what I gather. There are a few top applicants in each year for a given program/area, and it’s a seller’s market, with the student having all the decision power and the universities trying to come up with attractive fellowship packages. Perhaps that is just as pathological, but the scale seems so much smaller…


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