An article in the Tufts Daily indicates that the university has accepted quite a few more students from its Early Decision pool than last year: 12% more.
It could be, as the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions says in the article, that the pool of ED applicants at Tufts was just outstanding this year. Or it could be that Tufts is hedging its bets in a tough economy and taking more from this pool of students guaranteed to matriculate.
While most admissions officers have a tough time admitting it, their desks are heaving with applications from qualified students. At the margins, the qualitative difference between the student who is denied and the student who is admitted is negligible. (See my article here about the randomness of college admission–as documented by admissions officers themselves).
I will be interested to see if Early Decision acceptances are up at other selective colleges. I will not be surprised if they are. Nor will I be surprised if deans of admissions swear on stacks of Bibles that the reason for this trend is the increased quality in their applicant pools. (Was the Tufts ED pool really 12% better–qualitatively?)
Colleges are businesses. They have budgets. And admissions offices are the sales and marketing arms of these big businesses.
So we’ll see how things continue to shake out in this admissions cycle.
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