After a four-year hiatus, Harvard University and Princeton University reinstated an early action admissions option Thursday. Both schools’ early action applications are non-binding but require that students apply early to only one school.

The switch back was made largely due to growing demand among students and their parents for more security earlier in the admissions process, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said in the Harvard Gazette. She said that single-option early programs allow students who are committed to attending a specific university eliminate some of the stress that comes with applying to college.

Both schools eliminated their early admissions programs in 2007 due to concerns that it complicated the admissions process and put some students at a disadvantage, particularly if they were from underprivileged areas that might be less prepared for the early deadline, according to the Harvard Gazette and Princeton’s website.

The early action application allows students to weigh financial aid options before committing to a school because they can apply to other schools during the regular admissions period.

Both Harvard and Princeton said on their websites that they are committed to admitting a diverse pool of students.

Georgetown offers a similar early admissions program, giving prospective students the option of hearing an admissions decision in the fall without having to commit until the regular May 1 deadline. Unlike that of Harvard and Princeton, it is not a single-choice option, allowing students to submit multiple early applications.

When Harvard and Princeton dropped their early admissions option they hoped other universities would do the same, moving to a single admissions process, but only the University of Virginia followed their lead, then reversed its choice last year, according to the Princeton website.

Georgetown’s early admissions option has remained the same for decades.

“Our policy has been unchanged for more than 20 years and we have no intention of changing just because those around us continue to do so,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon said.

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