Beginning in fall 2011, high school seniors now have the option to apply “early action” to the University of Virginia.
U.Va.’s early action plan will offer high school seniors the opportunity to apply by November 1 and receive a decision no later than January 31. In early action, there are three options for a decision: admit, defer, or deny. If deferred, the student will be evaluated in the regular decision process with a released decision by April 1. If admitted, the decision is non-binding, in that a student is not required to attend the University if admitted. The student can submit applications to other institutions and select the best opportunity. Those offered admission through the early action program will have until May 1 to make their final decision. In sum, the goal of early action is to provide the students with more choices and more flexibility in the admission process.
The early action plan will continue to cultivate the diversity of the first year class. Since students will not be asked to make a commitment to attend until after receiving financial aid notifications from all of the schools to which they are admitted, students will be able to compare financial aid packages and make the most appropriate decision.
Until 2006, U.Va. offered an “early decision” program, in which students applied early in exchange for a binding commitment to attend if accepted. The program was abolished in 2007 amid concerns that the early decision application pool lacked racial and socioeconomic diversity.
Finally, and most importantly, early action should not be seen as an “easier” way to get into the University.
Dean of Admission Greg Roberts agrees: “We strongly believe that there should be no strategic advantage to applying early action,” he said. “The students we admit early action should have the same academic and personal qualities as those whom we admit regular decision.”