While traditional college application practice has always involved a letter of acceptance or a letter of rejection to students applying for college, now colleges are offering a third option. As colleges and universities across the country become increasingly more flooded with applications each year, some have taken to offer students another option: attend another learning institution for a year or two, earn a satisfactory GPA there, and you’ll be guaranteed admission, according to an article posted in The New York Times. This practice is basically an attempt to counter the enrollment slump and the diminishing freshman classes that most learning institutions take later on when students drop out of school, transfer, or study abroad. This process has been referred to as "enrollment management."
But the process may also bring problems for the students or for the universities in which they attend while waiting for their spot into their desired university. As the process is seen as a deferred admission or guaranteed transfer option, it can leave students stuck in limbo when they start school at a place they know they will not end up graduating from. It may also cause problems for the temporary university, as they are not usually told about the deal students have made with their first choice schools. In other words, no one is really tracking how many colleges and universities actually use this practice, which some see as "borderline unethical", saying that it’s like recruiting students from other colleges. Some universities that use this practice are reluctant to admit that they do and school officials believe the number of schools that use this practice will climb as schools try to pick up students to replace the freshman that they lose.
Some admissions officers have even questioned the validity of rankings of schools that use this practice. Because school rankings are based in part by SAT scores and the high school GPAs of freshman entering in the fall, the scores of students that are slated to begin later are not included. Other arguable points are that deferring admission lowers the admission rate of the school, which would make the school appear that it is more selective. But some students that have been rejected from their dream universities only to receive a second letter offering a deferred admission are open to the idea and accept the opportunity. There are definitely mixed feelings on this process – when one school in particular, SUNY Geneseo, a selective liberal arts college in New York, caught on to students coming in for a year to transfer out to colleges they had struck deals with, they decided to use the same process as well.
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