Spring Scholar program to admit fewer students

Olivia Warren, Associate News Editor

The Spring Scholar program and the Early Decision admissions round will lower the number of offers extended to the class of 2027. (Rahima Olatinwo)

Tulane University’s Office of Admissions announced changes to the Early Decision and Spring Scholar programs this fall. 

The Spring Scholar program and the Early Decision admissions round will lower the number of offers extended to Tulane’s Class of 2027. Admissions will offer 40 Spring Scholar acceptances in the Early Decision round. In total, admissions predicts to have 75 Spring Scholars in the Class of 2027. 

Recent years have seen over 200 Spring Scholars per year.

“With our application deadline not until mid-January, we simply want to see the applicant pool in its entirety before making additional offers. It’s really as simple as that,” Shawn Abbott, vice president of enrollment management and dean of admission, said.

Abbott assumed this role in September. When starting the position, he named equity in the admissions process as one of his top priorities.

The Spring Scholar program, which accepts students on the condition that they begin school in the spring semester rather than fall, aims to allow more students on campus after spaces, like classroom and dormitories, free up in the spring. 

“With our healthy applicant pool of exceptionally strong students, it just made sense to extend additional offers of admission,” Abbott said.

The Spring Scholar program allows students to take the fall semester to either study abroad, work, find an internship, do community service or take classes at a local community college.

Spring Scholar Ambassador and sophomore Madeline Lorio said she has mixed feelings about her experience as a Spring Scholar. When she first arrived at Tulane after attending community college at home, she had a hard time adjusting. 

“I felt very ostracized, to say the least,” Lorio said. 

Lorio said the program offers the amazing opportunity to study abroad as a freshman, but that option was not affordable to her. 

Despite a tough adjustment, Lorio said the program “affords spring scholars the opportunity that they wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.” But she thinks shrinking the program is “a step in the right direction.”

In another change, admissions will ask students who get deferred to Regular Decision if they are open to being a Spring Scholar. 

“Ideally, we’d like to know from the beginning whether joining us in January would be of any interest,” Abbott said.

Abbott said that the Office of Admissions is pondering whether to ask all applicants if they are open to being a Spring Scholar in the next admissions cycle.

Additionally, in order to create more opportunities for applicants from middle- and low-income households, the Office of Admissions had lowered Early Decision offers of admission from 875 students for the class of 2026 to 800 this year. 

According to Inside Higher Ed, “two-thirds of applicants who will make up [the Class of 2026] applied in one of two rounds of early decision.” 

Early Decision is often criticized for favoring white, wealthier applicants. By applying Early Decision, the applicant commits to attending the university if they receive an admissions offer, no matter the financial aid they do or do not receive. By accepting fewer students from Early Decision, Tulane aims to give more opportunities to students who cannot commit to attending Tulane without adequate financial aid, expanding the campus’s socioeconomic and racial diversity.

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