To acquire wisdom, one must observe

The blue wave at Brandeis

The landscape of college admissions is rapidly changing and its impacts are far further reaching than most may think at first glance. Before we engage with the topic of how altered admissions processes impact the lives of students on campus, it is crucial to first investigate the evolving nature of the college admissions process. So what is driving the changes in this highly stressful and rigorous process? Two factors: increasing college applications from individual students and the increased use of the early decision option when applying to college. The Common Application process has granted students the ability to apply to a number of universities with the same application. In theory, the Common Application provides students easier access to the college application process by putting most schools on the same platform and making the process standardized among all applicants. However, this also gives students who have the money to do so the ability to apply to what could seemingly be every college on the Common Application. Among editorial board members here at The Hoot, this phenomenon can be seen clearly because while some of us applied to five or nine colleges and universities, a good number of us applied to upwards of 20 schools during the process. This means more competitive applicants are applying to all the same schools and taking the same spots from other students at the same swaths of schools. To combat this, admissions offices take into greater account the students who will get accepted to other universities and have to bank on so many students not enrolling at the schools they were accepted into. So pools of students are growing that get accepted into colleges but it is coupled with the rise of the early decision option. For those who are unaware, early decision (ED) is a binding agreement which states that a student can only apply to one private college or university and if accepted the applicant will enroll at the university in the fall. Intended for diehard lovers of a university who know exactly what college they want to go to, this option has slowly been becoming larger and larger portions of the incoming classes. With ED enrollment comprising roughly one third of incoming students with larger classes of accepted students being accepted, this results in huge influxes of students which small- to mid-size colleges and universities are not adequately prepared for. This is where the impact on student life becomes crystal clear—increasing class sizes puts massive strain on the housing and dining services of any university. For us Brandeisians the lunch rush at “Usdan Kitchen” and dinner rush at Sherman Dining Hall have gone from bad to worse. Seating at these times is as rare as finding a diamond in your backyard. Housing has become more cramped with students being forced into lofted triples at higher rates than any years prior and what was once upperclassmen housing becoming sophomore housing to accommodate this larger class—not to mention the stress placed on student life facilities such as the gym, weight room and clubs which are struggling to accommodate so many new students in such small places. Increasing access to higher education should be a priority among all institutions in the United States, as the knowledge economy becomes more vital to maintaining stability, but to prepare for a new generation of highly educated individuals universities need to begin breaking ground before they break acceptance records. Infrastructure will be crucial to fitting everyone in and making them feel comfortable once they are here. So, as students come pouring through the doors to come to Brandeis, let’s give them a good reason to stay and build a more accommodating campus for everyone.

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