I am writing in response to two Opinion columns in the Nov. 19 edition of The Cavalier Daily. The columns, "Early action: a step back" and "Early admission redux," both pertain to the recent decision by the Office of Undergraduate Admission to offer an early action plan for prospective students in 2011.
For the past six months, the Admission Office has been studying the possible impact this decision could have on high school students, particularly low-income and minority students. From the start, we have been clear that we would not consider any plan that would limit access to the University for any population of students. We have consulted with admission deans at peer public and private institutions who use early action and early decision, gathering diversity data from each school. In an effort to include many perspectives, we have met with college counselors from around the world, spoken to high school students and their parents, and consulted with alumni, faculty, staff and administrators at the University.
It is important to note that since early action is non-binding, it allows students to compare financial aid offers before submitting an enrollment deposit. This is dramatically different than the more restrictive early decision plan of a few years ago. Further, data we have collected shows that schools that offer an nonrestrictive EA plan have early pools that are often as socioeconomically and racially diverse as in the regular decision pool. At UNC-Chapel Hill for example, 45 percent of the students applying for application fee waivers applied using early action and 49 percent of underrepresented minority students applied through early action.
The University is well known for its very public and bold stance on diversity issues. Recent admission and aid efforts to promote diversity and equity include the establishment of AccessUVA, our move to the Common Application, the addition of the CSS Profile application for financial aid and our partnership with Questbridge, a non-profit organization that attracts and matches talented low-income students to the University.
We appreciate the passionate interest University students have in these important issues. In the Office of Admission we are firm in our commitment to equity and diversity. We strongly believe that the new early action option will in fact result in more flexibility and freedom for students without sacrificing access to the University.
Greg Roberts\nDean, Office of Undergraduate Admission