Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

More college applicants aren’t welcome till winter

By Ariel Kaminer

Elizabeth Bricker of Rumson, N.J., was still half-asleep when her mother came into her room two weeks ago carrying an envelope from the University of Southern California. Even through the haze of spring break, she could see that the envelope was big — big enough to mean she had gotten in. “I was so excited,” she recalled. “Then I opened it and I read the letter and I was like, oh no! I started to cry.”

She had been admitted, but not for the fall of 2013. She was being offered a spot one semester down the road, in January 2014. “I never heard of anyone being accepted in the spring,” she said.

Elizabeth was worried that accepting the offer would leave her out of sync with her peers, all of whom were gearing up to start college life in September. But as it turned out, her two best friends got the same offer from their first-choice colleges, too.

So did a lot of other students across the country.

Exact numbers are not available, but according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, over the past few years more and more colleges have been sending out a new kind of acceptance letter, inviting some applicants to wait until the new year before showing up.

Back in 2001, when USC started doing it, Timothy Brunold, the director of admissions, said he assumed the university was a pioneer. Now the list includes, among others, Skidmore College, Hamilton College, Brandeis University, the University of Miami, Northeastern University, Elon University in North Carolina and Middlebury College (which actually beat USC to the punch by a few decades).

They all have their own variation on the theme. Some, like Middlebury, in Vermont, allow students to request second-semester admissions; some make the decision for the students. Hamilton, in Clinton, N.Y., does not enroll students until they arrive on campus in the spring; Skidmore, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Northeastern, in Boston, enroll them right away but direct them to spend their fall semester at a designated program abroad.

But all are motivated by the same basic arithmetic: between freshman-year attrition and junior-year abroad programs, campus populations drop off after the first few months of college each year. “With the economy the way it is, they need to be doing what they can to get tuition income,” said Scott G. Chrysler Jr., a college counselor in Louisiana who is active in the national group’s admissions practices committee. “An empty seat is not generating any income.”

The arrangement may not be profitable for everyone, warns Tom Weede, chairman of the committee. “Often the letter says, ‘We encourage you to enroll in another school and take core-related classes,’ ” he said. “Well, at the other school, if you want financial aid you have to be a full-time student. The school that takes you doesn’t know you’re just going to be there for a semester. So it creates a built-in retention problem at a moment we’re calling for more accountability and more numbers about outcomes like retention.”

As fast as the practice may be growing, it is still unknown to most college applicants, and even to many guidance counselors. At Brandeis University, which now enrolls 100 or so students for midyear arrival, the dean of admissions, Mark Spencer, said some applicants were so rattled by the offer that they begged to be placed on the fall waiting list instead. “I say, ‘Wait, you want me to un-admit you?’ ” Spencer said.

To address students’ concerns, many of these colleges set up special midyear open houses, or enlist former midyear arrivals to call their potential successors and talk about how it all works. And when that spring semester rolls around, these colleges generally offer midyear orientations, modeled on the welcome-to-campus events that greet most first-year students.

High school seniors looking to arrive at USC next spring are already chatting with one another on a Facebook page that the university set up for them. And at Hamilton, which last year enrolled about 10 percent of its incoming class for spring semester, everyone gets a Hamilton e-mail account and password, even those who won’t arrive on campus for a few more months.

At Middlebury College, where one-sixth of the class arrives for the first time in February, Greg Buckles, dean of admissions, said, “We kind of cast about for these ‘Febby’ qualities,” like risk-taking, entrepreneurial spirit and a drive to lead.

Jessye Kass, a senior at Brandeis, said she was “very upset” when she was first offered admission for the spring semester. “I called and demanded to be put in the fall class,” she recalled. When that did not work she raised some money and went to volunteer in Ghana.

On the strength of that experience she has since started an organization to promote arts education in Ghanaian schools. In a few weeks she will graduate with dual majors — anthropology as well as African and African-American studies — and dual minors in social justice and social policy as well as peace conflict and coexistence studies, as well as a Fulbright scholarship. She said none of it would have happened if it were not for that deferred semester.

Kass took extra courses along the way in order to graduate with a majority of her class. Other midyear arrivals use advanced placement credits from high school, or transfer credits from their fall semester at another college. But some who arrive midyear and then end up graduating midyear say that schedule has a hidden advantage: It gives them a few months’ running start before the much larger mass of spring graduates hits the job market.

At Middlebury, midyear graduation brings another difference. Unlike their classmates who must sweat through their late-May ceremonies, sticky in an academic gown, the Febbies get to graduate in the middle of winter, at the top of a big hill. And then they zoom down it together, on skis.

Comments

comments

New York Times News Service

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Davis audience hears from civil-rights hero

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Legislators wrap up with water, ethics, guns bills

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: This new kid might have a future

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Five U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    EU threatens Russia with more sanctions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rotary clubs offer Davis High students some life lessons

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Robbery, pursuit in Central Davis lead to one arrest

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Dinner will raise funds to help farmers in Burkina Faso

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Beamer Park featured at Stroll Through History

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bean Feed supports for Yolo Democrats’ activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Bauer garden marks one year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Tuleyome Tales: Be safe on wilderness trails

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Small wineries suffer big losses in quake

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Grande site has been a convoluted saga

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

     
    Say goodbye to summer with a ‘Final Blast’ at Explorit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Bay Bridge project’s rainy-day money is nearly gone

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A15 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Already made herself at home

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Keep our green waste piles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    How to make a good living

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Nate Beeler cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Changing local election dates benefits Democrats

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

     
    Ad-free email? You can still find it at Davis Community Network

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    City panel working to tighten scrutiny of taxpayer dollars

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Try round-robin storytelling at crafts fair

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Health problems mean he’s checked out

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A14

    Marriage doesn’t mean we agree on everything

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A14

     
    This epidemic should scare us

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

    .

    Sports

    New coach, new tougher league for DHS football

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Coach likes what she sees from Devil field hockey squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD notebook: Coaches positive about FCS schools ‘playing up’

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils open with an impressive volleyball victory

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Stanford scores early, often in opener versus UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Aggie harriers secure season-opening sweep

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Baseball roundup: Cats win late to pull even with Aces

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Comings and Goings: Is fro-yo craze melting?

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    Sutter Davis Hospital honored again as a ‘best place to work’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

    Community pools its purchasing power to reduce the cost of solar

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

     
    Engage3 attracts investment for shopping app

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

    California growers can use MBI’s new bioinsecticide

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

     
    Sudwerk, Davis Food Co-op join for ‘co-hop-eration’ brew

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    Wanda P. Daley

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, August 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8