Some selective colleges are now offering an alternative to the traditional accepted or rejected options. Some students may receive guaranteed admission, pending a prescribed GPA at another institution for a year or two.
A New York Times article on the subject, “Admissions to College, With Catch: Year’s Wait,” describes this practice as “an unusual mix of early admission and delayed gratification,” and says that it “has allowed colleges to tap their growing pools of eager candidates to help counter the enrollment slump that most institutions suffer later on, as the accepted students drop out, transfer, study abroad or take internships off campus.”
Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, calls this “an attempt at what is called enrollment management.” Officially, this college admissions practice is known as “deferred admission” or “a guaranteed transfer option.”
Some admissions officers, however, consider this practice “borderline unethical” as it encourages recruitment of matriculated students from other schools. Plus, it provides an unfair advantage in college rankings—the SAT scores and GPAs of these deferred students, which are presumably lower than the accepted students, are not tallied for the purposes of ranking since they will not be a part of the incoming freshman class.
Finally, only planning to stay at a college for one year before then moving on to another institution may take its toll socially. Students may be reluctant to forge friendships, and other students may resent that their school is simply a stepping stone to what may be considered greener pastures.
Colleges respond, however, that the rankings are not considered when using this practice, and that students are not required to commit or pay any deposit to the school that has delayed their admission.
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