A whopping 3547 students applied Early Action to Princeton this year, according to the Prince. That’s up from 2,275 Early Decision applicants in 2006 (Though this is not a fair comparison since Early Action is not binding and the number of high school graduates has risen since 2006).
As we all know from when we applied, Princeton has been without an Early Action or Early Decision Program since the 2007 application cycle, when it eliminated Early Decision in an effort to increase socio-economic diversity by making the application process more fair. At the time, President Tilghman told the Prince that “Early Decision was advantaging those who were already advantaged.” Harvard and UVa eliminated their Early programs around the same time.
All three reinstated Early programs last year, after it became clear that other Universities weren’t following suit and Princeton was losing students to other schools with Early programs. But the new program is non-binding, so that students can compare financial aid packages. Perhaps this is the best of both worlds — allowing students to pick Princeton as their first choice, relieving some applicants’ stress when they are admitted early, but not disadvantaging low SES students. Or perhaps this is just PR. What do you think?