I mentioned Brandon Busteed a couple weeks ago when discussing what a triple threat college graduate would look like. Another of his ideas that would significantly change the face of college admissions is a 24-48 hour application decision. If you are on an admission committee, this might sound like the stuff of nightmares so close your eyes and take a deep breath. Had I been sipping a favorite beverage when I first read this suggestion, some of it may have been expelled through my nose. But, after considering the ramifications of such a change along with the knowledge that in international circles many colleges already operate with this system; it began to make a lot of sense.
Consider why the short list of colleges for the top quarter of the students in this country routinely reaches double digits… They want to attend a university that is both challenging and prestigious. Few college-bound students would find it difficult to rattle of a top 10 list that would look very similar to that of every other high performing student in the country. Imagine that the student with eight competitive colleges on their list ranked them in order of preference and began applying to the colleges in that order. Every Monday and Thursday they send in an application. The first-choice college sent back a rejection notice on Wednesday, so application number two was sent on Thursday. This process continues until an acceptance is gained – perhaps with number three or four. What does that do to the number of applications the student would have submitted in order to guarantee that they were accepted somewhere? Instead of a large scatter-shot of applications, only the number required to receive the desired result were submitted.
With such a system in place, applications would begin arriving early in the process and continue at a steady place until students gained acceptance at their favorite colleges. The colleges could also build their freshmen classes from this steady flow and begin sending wait list or rejection notices once the desired number of students had been admitted. Colleges would no longer have to wonder how serious the student is about their campus because it would be nonsense to begin applying at the colleges at the end of their list. Also, the colleges that say yes first gain the advantage in the mind of the student as the school that wants them most.