Admissions delays deadline
Dartmouth has shifted its early decision deadline to Nov. 16 and is designing a Web site that applicants can access to learn about admissions decisions, according to Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg.
According to Furstenberg, "the delay is a function of several different events."
"First of all, the mail has slowed down terribly," he said. "SAT scores, high-school transcripts -- everything is just arriving later than usual."
Furstenberg acknowledged that the change also came due to the unusual "stresses and strains" that some students and families have experienced since Sept. 11.
In a separate effort, the admissions office is putting together a Website which applicants can access to check the status of their applications, Furstenberg said.
Dartmouth had long discussed setting up such a Web site even before Sept. 11 and had hoped to be finished with the site in time for regular decision this year, he said.
The recent mail delays, however, have encouraged Dartmouth to accelerate the process so that the site will be up and running by December instead of April.
Furstenberg said that he did not think students would find receiving bad news over the Internet harder than receiving a thin envelope.
"Most students just want to know one way or the other," he said. "Most need to know whether or not they should go ahead and apply to other schools Regular Decision."
"We've sent admissions decisions to international students by e-mail for years," he added, "and that seems to have worked."
Furstenberg did not anticipate that Dartmouth would have any problems with the security of this Web site.
"It should be as safe as sending out letters," he said.
He added that a student who calls Dartmouth's admissions office after the appropriate date and can verify his/her identity by giving the correct Social Security number can learn the fate of his or her application via phone.
Dartmouth is encouraging students to apply online in order to avoid the delays associated with sending applications through the regular mail, Furstenberg said.
The dean was unsure whether the rest of Dartmouth's admissions timetable would shift to compensate for the change in the early decision due date. He did say that Dartmouth plans to mail its early decision letters on time.
"We hope to get out our regular decision letters by the common Ivy response date of April 5, too," he added. "That month is really a very compressed time for decision-making."
While Furstenberg said "each Ivy school is making individual decisions about communication and extension," many schools are being somewhat more flexible about deadlines this year.
Brown University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University have also posted messages on their respective websites stating that they will be more lenient about deadlines this year.
Marlyn McGrath-Lewis, Dean of Admissions at Harvard, indicated that Harvard's admissions process should proceed as normal this year.
Yale, Princeton and Penn, like Dartmouth, are also encouraging students to submit applications online this year.
Yale has also announced that applicants will be able to learn about admissions decisions from a Web site.
Michael Berger, Dean of Admissions at Brown, said that while Brown has no plans to design such a site this year, it will look at following Dartmouth and Yale's lead in the future.
But John McLaughlin, a representative for admissions at Penn, said that the university does not plan to communicate admissions decisions over the Web any time soon.
As Penn is significantly larger and thus attracts more applicants, it would be harder to ensure the security of a website communicating admissions decisions than it would be for somewhat smaller schools like Dartmouth and Yale, he said.