This Saturday, December 15, is a date that’s been circled on the calendar for months. It’s a date heavily promoted on its website, through social media channels, spoken about at college fairs, during campus tours and at other events wherever potential applicants are present. Dec. 15 is important because it is USD’s lone application deadline for prospective, first-time freshmen to apply to the university for admission in Fall 2013.
“We expect to get thousands of applications this weekend,” said Stephen Pultz, USD assistant vice president for admissions and enrollment.
Gone is the early-action application deadline of years past, Nov. 15, that served as the lead-in for the hard December deadline. Going with the lone December deadline now is seen by some as a bold move while welcomed by high school counselors who appreciate the extra time to prepare students for this important decision. Ultimately, though, if this decision by USD officials is effective, there’s a chance that this model could become an admissions trend nationally.
“Many colleagues have applauded our decision to do this,” Pultz said. “But we know we’re being looked at and that our results will be scrutinized. Our colleagues understand, too, that this will take awhile for us to really evaluate.”
The decision to switch was influenced by a recent annual record rise in the number of applications to USD and the logistical issues it caused.
“Given the volume of applications we receive, we wanted to provide students with consistent information regarding application decisions, merit awards and admitted student events,” said Pultz when the deadline change was first announced in the summer. “Having a single deadline allows our team to give all students full consideration in the application process. We feel this will decrease anxiety among students and families, expedite the decision-making process and streamline communication between our office and applicants.”
Pultz said more than 16,500 applications were received in 2011.
“Since 2010 we’ve experienced a 52-percent increase in early-action applications and our overall application increase has been 36 percent, so an increasingly larger share of our applicant pool is applying early,” he said. “Despite that increase, we’ve found that these students don’t choose to come to USD with any greater frequency than those who apply through regular admissions.”
While Dec. 15 is the deadline, Pultz admitted that this change could result in some applicants filing complete applications late. The late filing period, he said, ends Feb. 1, 2013. “We’re trying to be somewhat flexible this first year, but it’s still very important to get started now on the common application and to get the ball rolling,” he said.
Applicants who turn their materials in by the Dec. 15 deadline will be notified of a decision by April 1, 2013.
— Ryan T. Blystone
Learn more about the application process on USD’s Undergraduate Admissions website, connect also through its Facebook page, on Twitter — @USDAdmissions — via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, (619) 260-4506.