Denying the decision to no longer defer students

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

When the students who applied to attend the University for the 2015-2016 academic year receive their admissions decision letters, each of them will know immediately whether they were accepted. Unlike in previous years, no prospective students will be deferred to a wait list.

Additionally, prospective students no longer have the option to be notified of their admission early. This year, there is only one application deadline (Dec. 1) and all prospective students will receive word of their status on the same date (Feb. 13). 

While these changes to the admissions process were made with good intentions — to prevent students from feeling less valued than others and therefore deciding to attend another school — we think they will do more harm than good for the University and the students interested in attending it.

The biggest problem we see with the aforementioned changes is that they hinder prospective students’ ability to plan for their futures. Senior year of high school can be a stressful time for many students, and many students who intend to go to college put in a lot of time and planning in terms of their applications. 

Many submit their applications early and therefore should be able to reap the benefits of receiving decisions earlier. 

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Before, students had the option to receive notification of their admittance to the University by mid-December at the earliest, giving them nearly five full months to weigh their choices and look at other institutions before the May 1 decision deadline. 

The December notification option also informed prospective students of their admissions status early enough that they could still apply to many other institutions if they were deferred or denied by the University. On the flip side, the early notification could also save students the hassle of needlessly wasting time and money on applications to institutions they were less interested in attending.

Unfortunately, because of the changes to the admissions process, prospective students can no longer enjoy those benefits. Our University is competitive, and it’s unlikely that students would apply to it without having a back-up plan if they didn’t get in. As such, they should have the option to know ahead of time if they should pursue that back-up plan.

Additionally, many other reputable Big Ten schools, such as Northwestern and the University of Michigan, still offer December decisions, which could potentially harm our University. For example, if a student didn’t want to spend his or her last semester of high school applying to universities and ironing out details, said student might choose to apply to institutions that notify of admittance status in December, regardless of interest in our University.

Overall, we feel that making these changes to the admissions process creates more challenges than benefits. While one admission date and one pile of applications might be easier for administrators to sift through, it has the potential to hinder students’ decisions to attend or apply to the University.