Last week, the U.S. Justice Department revealed that a number of highly selective colleges were under investigation for communicating with one another about which students had applied to those schools in the early decision rounds of admissions, and whether or not those students had then been admitted. One of those schools is Wesleyan University, where I applied early decision and was accepted (and will attend starting in August).
Let’s clarify exactly what this all means: when I applied early decision, I (and my parents) signed a contract that stated that, should I be accepted to Wesleyan, I would automatically commit to attend Wesleyan in the fall of 2018. It also meant that I couldn’t apply to any other institution of higher education in the early decision round, because it would create a major problem if I were accepted into both schools.
Now, what the Justice Department is alleging (and is likely true) is that Wesleyan and a group of other schools were sharing the list of students who had applied to each school in the ED rounds (there are often 2 such rounds) to check to make sure that students hadn’t applied to multiple schools (it’s unclear what would happen if someone did apply to mutliple schools ED, but it’s likely they would be denied from all schools). Those schools also sent around the list of admitted students in the ED rounds so that colleges could withdraw regular round applications of students admitted elsewhere (and therefore committed). It is with complete certainty to me that my name was shared in those lists.
I don’t care. I’m actually happy about that. See, the early decision rounds provide an advantage to applicants who can afford to make the choice to commit to a school without knowing their financial aid packages. They have told the school they will attend if admitted, so the school is more likely to admit them to secure enrollment from those students. So as an ED applicant, I was using that decision as an advantage over students applying in the regular rounds (I’m well aware that it is certainly an amazing privelege that I was able to apply to college without worrying about finances and that ED is completely unfair to the vast majority of students, but that’s what I’m going to discuss next Tuesday).
A student that applied to multiple schools ED, and was able to use that to their advantage, is cheating the system. As a student who was relying on ED as a way to secure my spot at my dream school, I don’t want to be competing with kids who are trying to cheat the system to get into a school early by applying to a number of schools in the ED rounds. So I completely support the decision by Wesleyan to share that information with those other schools. Further, the decision of the schools to share lists of who was admitted in the ED rounds helps students who applied RD, because they now have a better shot without competing against a greater pool of students. Besides, myself and everyone else admitted to a school ED were instructed to withdraw our applications to any other school, so if the schools do it for us, that just makes our lives easier.
This isn’t the antitrust case the DOJ is trying to bring forward. No, they just want to go after institutions of higher education that are often critical of the president and his administration. And it’s incredibly hard to go after Ivy League schools (even though Sessions and Co. are trying with Harvard) due to the big names, so choosing the next tier down seems to be their best bet to go after liberal leaning institutions. I welcome anyone who can tell me why I shouldn’t support Wesleyan sharing my ED decision with other colleges.