More Colleges Offer Deferred Admission to Recent High School Grads

Barry Lenson

More Colleges Offer Deferred Admission to Recent High School Grads

“Admission to College, with Catch: Year’s Wait,” an article by Lisa Foderaro in the April 10 New York Times, explains another way that colleges have found to keep their classrooms populated with students:

They admit students, but tell them that they can’t enroll for a year or two.

Those students can only matriculate after they have attended another college and maintained a high GPA. According to the article, delayed admission is more widespread than many people realize. In one form or another, it is currently practiced at Cornell, several schools in the SUNY system, and at the University of Maryland.

Deferred admission should appeal to students.  After all, wouldn’t you want to have a guaranteed admission to Cornell or another top university after proving yourself elsewhere for a year or two? It is good for colleges too, allowing them to replace students who transfer to other schools or drop out.

Yet Foderaro, the author of the article, points out some less-than-positive aspects of delayed admissions:

  • Delayed admissions help colleges boost their rank in U.S. News by packing their freshman classes with students who achieved only the highest scores on standardized tests. (U.S. News considers standardized test performance among admitted freshmen in its rankings, but not test performance among students who transfer into a school later on.)
  • Delayed admissions can hurt other colleges. If Student A goes to Ipswitch College for two years before exercising her deferred admission option at Gotrox University, Ipswitch College loses out when she leaves.

Of course, students have been creating their own deferred admissions plans for years, by attending community colleges and then transferring into state universities and other higher-end colleges.  And here at StraighterLine, students are doing something similar, by taking college courses online and then matriculating at our Partner Colleges. 

So, is deferred acceptance an ethical practice? It’s a complicated question that plays out in many ways for different students and different schools.

Why not take a moment and let us you know your views?

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