With all this political uncertainty, there is one thing that we know:
All the schools are looking at their admissions decisions and class strategies differently right now.
In November, we wondered about what the impact might be on international applicants to American schools, fearing that the adcoms might be nervous with Round 2. We believed that they might act conservatively, and favor more American applicants instead of the recent trend at many schools towards higher ratios of foreign students. This is of course due to the protectionist and anti-immigrant rhetoric of our now-President, and the uncertainty around what he might actually do once in office. A common belief of many following the election was that his campaign promises were brash and hyped up because they energized his base, but that his policy propositions were untenable and unworkable, and that he’d move back to more practical ground once he was in office.
It’s not even been a week but so far, we’re not seeing any of that happen. Instead, all indications are that the promises made on the campaign trail are in fact going to be pursued, including building a wall along our border with Mexico, and implementing severe restrictions on immigrants. It’s hard to know where these policies and programs are going to end up (the President cannot unilaterally take all the actions that have been proposed, we have a checks-and-balances system here in America) but all signs in these early days are that these initiatives are going to be pursued with a vengeance.
The intensity of activity in these early days has sent a strong signal – and EssaySnark now believes that some bschool deans and admissions officers may decide to take a proactive step of admitting MORE international students than normal this year.
This is because any policy changes to, say, the State Department and how many student visas they issue (currently, our understanding is that there is no cap for students), or what type of new controls or added scrutiny they impose over the visa process, will take time to implement.
Round 2, though, is active and underway.
Any change to government policy cannot be put in place so quickly as to affect a school’s Round 2 admittees.
If an MBA administration is concerned that they will be facing new / different / greater restrictions on who they can accept in the future, then they may take the proactive step today in admitting more international students than they had originally planned on.
All leaders of all organizations everywhere are on tenterhooks right now, not knowing what this new government is going to try to do. This includes leadership at universities and graduate programs.
Just a few months ago, we had thought that this political uncertainty might cause admissions directors to act more conservatively and only accept a limited number of foreign students, in order to reduce risk in being able to fill their classes. That still may be the tactic pursued at many top schools. However, we believe that some others may go to another extreme, as an attempt to build a “wall” of their own: To increase diversity in their school for at least the next two years, they may proactively try to admit a more diverse class of international candidates for Round 2 right now.
We’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out.
None of this is based on any firsthand conversations with admissions people; it’s just us reading the tea leaves and trying to predict which way the wind will be blowing – a tricky task, in this climate.
It’s been a very competitive season so far already, and we doubt that that fact will change. You’ll still need to be a super strong candidate to get in. However, some schools may be more open to having a larger proportion of their class coming from overseas than they’d originally been planning for.
What we can say with certainty is that there will be different strategies employed in different admissions offices. It’s impossible to say how Round 2 is going to go overall this year.
Good luck to all who are getting the interviews. Let’s see how things shake out over the next two months.
UPDATE 1/29/17 This situation is obviously changing, and impossible to predict.
Here is a statement from the President of the University of Virginia – notable quote: “[W]e are concerned about the larger effect this and related actions may have on American universities, including UVA, as we seek to expose students to international experiences. Being a great university in the 21st century means being a global university, and our entire University community is enriched and enlightened by interacting with teachers and students from other nations.”
The President of Dartmouth posted this letter ; key quote: “Dartmouth’s commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas, global research, and education manifests itself in dozens of partnerships and in international study and exchange programs. Our engagement with the full human diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences is critical—to both the strength of the Dartmouth community and the effectiveness of Dartmouth’s learning and leadership. We recognize, value, and celebrate the essential contributions of our international students and scholars.”
Both of those statements also linked out to a statement by the Association of American Universities which says this: “Other countries have set the goal of surpassing the United States as the global leader in higher education, research, and innovation. Allowing them to replace this country as the prime destination for the most talented students and researchers would cause irreparable damage, and help them to achieve their goal of global leadership.”
Here’s the one from Harvard University: “We are all Harvard” – which says in part: “Our robust commitment to internationalism is not an incidental or dispensable accessory. It is integral to all we do, in the laboratory, in the classroom, in the conference hall, in the world. It fuels the capacity of universities to spur innovation, to advance scholarship and scientific discovery, and to help address society’s hardest challenges.”
From Georgetown University which reads in part: “We have been international since the days of our founding. Georgetown is 228 years old—founded in 1789, eight months before the republic itself. In our first classes, a quarter of our students came from other countries. Our first course catalogues in the 1790s were in three languages. Our international character is integral to our identity as a University, to the free exchange of ideas, and to our ability to support all of our students, staff, and faculty in contributing to our global community.”
EssaySnark has no clue how this will play out but it’s not a positive for our country, our economy, or the world. Expecting to see a stock market drop on Monday (and hopefully that’s the worst of it).
This affects ALL OF US. It does not matter if you are American and you don’t know anyone from one of the countries facing these new restrictions. Taking away freedoms from one group takes something away from everyone.
This is not what this country is about.