The University announced today that it will offer a nonbinding early-action option for applicants seeking admission in the fall of 2012. Princeton had offered an early-admission program for almost 30 years before moving to a single deadline for students hoping to enroll in the fall of 2008.

President Tilghman said in a statement that the University was pleased with its admission process over the past four years, but added that “we hoped other colleges and universities would do the same, and they haven’t. One consequence is that some students who really want to make their college decision as early as possible in their senior year apply to other schools early, even if their first choice is Princeton.”   Students who apply early-action to Princeton will be required to state that they have have not applied for early admission at any other school. They will be allowed to apply to other schools through their general admission process, and will have until May 1 to decide which school to attend.   Princeton’s decision in September 2006 to eliminate its early-decision program came a week after Harvard said it would end its early-admission program. Both institutions said that early-admission programs worked in favor of the privileged and against students from low-income families and from minority backgrounds, and expressed concern about the stress on high school students to make decisions early in their senior year.   Both institutions also expressed the hope that other schools would take a similar approach, but only one did: the University of Virginia. That school announced in November that it would return to nonbinding early-action, and this morning, so did Harvard. Princeton’s announcement came shortly thereafter.   “It just wasn’t feasible for us to be the last school standing” without an early-admission option, Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye told PAW. She said the University has made progress in attracting a broader pool of applicants in the last four years, “and we want to continue the momentum. We are fully committed to recruiting students from every background and geographic area.”   Read more about the new early-action option in the March 23 print issue of PAW.