Yale’s Surprise Decision to Keep Early Admissions May Undercut Efforts of Other Ivies to Recruit Highly Qualified Blacks and Low-Income Whites

In a surprise announcement early in 2007, President Richard C. Levin said that Yale University would continue its nonbinding early admissions program. Last fall both Harvard and Princeton ended their early admissions programs.

How will the Yale decision affect the application process for black students interested in an Ivy League education? It is likely that Yale will benefit by receiving large numbers of early black applicants who previously may have preferred Princeton or Harvard.

Many black students, like whites, prefer to avoid the stress of the college application process by locking up a place at a prestigious institution early in their senior year of high school. A black student who applies to the nonbinding early admissions program at Yale and is notified that he or she is admitted in early December is unlikely to spend additional time filling out college applications, writing essays, and spending application fees for Harvard, Princeton, and other universities with a single admissions pool that has an application deadline of January 1.

Yale’s action is believed to give it an advantage in recruiting highly qualified black students.