Sunday, September 14, 2014

HYPSM's Yield/Admit Ratio for Class of 2018

1. Stanford

Number of Early Applications: 6948
Early Admits: 748
Early Admit Rate: 10.8%
Total Number of Applications: 42167
Waitlist Admits:
Total Admits: 2138
Admit Rate: 5.1%
Class Size: 1681
Yield Rate: 78.6%
Yield/Admit Ratio: 15.5

2. Harvard

Number of Early Applications: 4692
Early Admits: 992
Early Admit Rate: 21.1%
Total Number of Applications: 34295
Waitlist Admits:
Total Admits: 2023
Admit Rate: 5.9%
Class Size: 1667
Yield Rate: 82.4%
Yield/Admit Ratio: 14.0

3. Yale

Number of Early Applications: 4750
Early Admits: 735
Early Admit Rate: 15.5%
Total Number of Applications: 30932
Waitlist Admits: 14
Total Admits: 1950
Admit Rate: 6.3%
Class Size: 1361
Yield Rate: 69.8%
Yield/Admit Ratio: 11.1

4. Princeton

Number of Early Applications: 3854
Early Admits: 714
Early Admit Rate: 18.5%
Total Number of Applications: 26641
Waitlist Admits:
Total Admits: 1939
Admit Rate: 7.3%
Class Size: 1313
Yield Rate: 67.7%
Yield/Admit Ratio: 9.3

5. MIT

Number of Early Applications: 6820
Early Admits: 612
Early Admit Rate: 9.0%
Total Number of Applications: 18357
Waitlist Admits: 28
Total Admits: 1447
Admit Rate: 7.9%
Class Size: 1043
Yield Rate: 72.1%
Yield/Admit Ratio: 9.1

Thursday, September 11, 2014

About 41% of Princeton Class of 2018 are from New York, New Jersey and California

Where is the Class of 2018 from?

Students from the Class of 2018 represent 46 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. 40.6 percent of students come from three states: New Jersey, California and New York, and no students come from Nebraska, Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming, according to information provided by Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye .
There are also students from 50 foreign nations.

The number of students representing New Jersey, California and New York is slightly higher than that of the Class of 2017, which had over 38.7 percent of its students coming from these three states. The number of states represented in the Class of 2017 was also 46, with North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Iowa not being represented. The number of represented nations was also similar, with 54 foreign countries being represented by the Class of 2017.

The University almost perfectly hit its goal number of students by welcoming 1,312 students to the freshman class, Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said, only four students above its goal of 1,308. This is an increase from the Class of 2017, which is composed of only 1,291 students.

“We’re back to steady state,” Rapelye said. “We had a big class with the Class of 2016. Last year the goal was 1,290; 1,300 or 1,308 has been our average for the past few years. So we’re back to where we wanted to be.”

Ayla Allen ’18, who attended the Daniel Pearl Magnet School in Los Angeles, may have come from one of the most represented states at the University, but she said that she and two other classmates were some of the first from her high school ever to apply to an Ivy League school.
“I felt pretty confident because I took almost the maximum number of [Advanced Placement] courses that my school offered,” Allen said of her application process. “I tried to look for outside ways to improve my application and education in high school.”

Sixty-five percent of the Class of 2018 is enrolled as A.B. students, 24 percent as B.S.E. and 11 percent remain undecided according to Rapelye.

Of the 219 intended B.S.E. students, 42 percent are women, remaining close to last year’s 43 percent; in contrast, the national statistic for the percentage of female engineers remains around 20 percent, Rapelye said.

International students represent about 11 percent of the incoming class. This number has remained steady for the past several years, with 12.5 percent international students populating the Class of 2017. These recent statistics reflect a huge lead over the number of international students attending the University only a decade ago, Rapelye said, noting that there were only 46 international students in 2001.

Hassan Ejaz Chaudhry ’18 from Punjab, Pakistan, was one of two people admitted from his country, he said. Chaudhry initially did not plan on applying to American schools and said that he had never been in the Western hemisphere before coming to the University.

“I’m just worried about adjusting to studies here because I know that the education systems are quite different,” Chaudhry said about the upcoming year. “So I just want to adjust to the U.S. education system and make sure that I excel at it.”

Fifty-nine percent of students come from public schools, 28 percent from independent schools, 12 percent from religiously affiliated schools and the rest from either military school or home school programs, Rapelye said.

Thirty-five students from the Bridge Year program initially admitted to the Class of 2017 will be returning, and 35 students from the Class of 2018 will defer in order to take part in the same program. Eighty-two other students chose to defer until next year, an increase from the 69 deferrals last year, according to Rapelye.

“We’re really pleased,” Rapelye said. “They’re a terrific group of students, and we’re really glad they’re here.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Brown Admitted 42 Students from Waitlist for Class of 2018

In a significant uptick over the past two admission cycles, 42 students were admitted off the waitlist to the Brown class of 2018, Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73 wrote in an email to The Herald.

Two students were admitted off the waitlist for the class of 2017, while the Admission Office did not take any students off the waitlist for the class of 2016, Miller wrote. But 62 students were admitted off the waitlist for the class of 2015, he added.

The rise in students admitted off the waitlist comes on the heels of an admission cycle in which the University recorded the lowest acceptance rate in its history at 8.6 percent. Students admitted off the waitlist are not included as part of the class’s officially reported acceptance rate.

“We didn’t approach the waitlist any differently this year, although we were particularly conscious of not overcrowding the first-year residence halls, so we were more conservative in the number of admission offers we made in our initial mailing in late March,” Miller wrote.

President Christina Paxson’s strategic plan, adopted last October by the Corporation, calls for a 1 percent annual increase in the size of the student body. But Miller wrote that the strategic plan’s growth strategy does not influence use of the waitlist, as the Admission Office accounts for the desired class size and expected yield when determining original admission decisions.

Steven Goodman, an admission strategist at the college consulting firm Top Colleges, said the number of students accepted off waitlists fluctuates from year to year, but “there’s been a dramatic jump in the number of students put on waitlists because it’s an insurance policy for colleges and universities.”

While being admitted off the waitlist “takes the sting out of not being accepted,” Goodman said, colleges should consider the psychological burden placed on affected students.

If a student who applies to college via an early decision program is subsequently deferred and then waitlisted, the admission cycle lasts from fall to the following summer, which makes it more difficult for students to find “closure” to the process, Goodman said.

“It’s hard to get excited about school number two if you’re on the waitlist for school number one,” he said.

Bev Taylor, founder and president of the Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said she has also seen an increase in the number of students waitlisted over the past five years, though there has not necessarily been a corresponding rise in acceptances off the waitlist.

While universities primarily admit students off waitlists when they face lower-than-expected yield rates from their original pools of admitted students, Taylor said the waitlist also may be used to lower the reported acceptance rate — a commonly used metric of an institution’s prestige — or to deal with highly qualified applicants who may not be as likely to commit to attending a college.

Brown’s yield has remained consistent over the past three years, with approximately 60 percent of admitted students accepting their offers of admission.

Taylor said she advises applicants placed on a waitlist that “doing nothing will never get you admitted.” Waitlisted students should send a “more detailed” version of the “Why Brown?” essay to their regional admission officer to show their continued interest in the school, she said.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yale Admitted 14 Students from Waitlist for Class of 2018

Out of a record-high pool of 30,932 applicants to Yale this year, 1,950 students were offered acceptance and 1,361 students chose to matriculate to the University as members of the class of 2018, making for the highest yield in Yale’s recorded history.

The final yield rate came in at 71.48 percent this fall, an increase of more than three percent from the 68.3 percent yield recorded for the class of 2017. Mark Dunn, senior assistant director of Yale’s Admissions Office, said in an email that the final yield and class size are calculated after discounting the number of students who postpone matriculation. In addition to the 1,361 students who are freshmen this year, 46 students chose to postpone their offers of admission until next fall and are not included in yield calculations.

“We expected an increase in the yield because we accepted more students in the early action round, but we still saw a stronger increase in the regular decision yield,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan ’03 said.

He added that the regular decision yield rate is a stronger measure of a university’s strength and attractiveness than its early action yield rate. He added this is partially because most students apply to their top choice school during the early action round.

The University accepted 735 students in the early action round in December, a rise from 649 the previous year. Richard Avitabile, a former admissions officer at New York University and a private education consultant for Steinbrecher & Partners, said he would not be surprised if most of these students had seen Yale as their top choice throughout the college process.

Because the yield was higher than expected, the Admissions Office only took 14 students off the waitlist. In prior years, according to Quinlan, the number of students the University has taken from the waitlist has fluctuated between zero and 100.

For the first year, the Admissions Office also publicized the yield for the regular decision round. Of the 1,041 admitted students who applied in the regular decision round, nearly 600 students chose Yale, making for a yield rate of 57.1 percent.

Quinlan said that number, which for years has been calculated internally, is the highest on record. Dunn said the office decided to release the regular decision yield rate in order to demonstrate that the increased yield cannot solely be attributed to early admits.

“I’m hesitant to attribute [the rise in the yield] to anything specific because it’s a multiyear process,” Quinlan said.

Still, he added that last year was very positive for the University in the media. He cited several professors’ Nobel Prize wins and the record $250 million gift to the University by Charles Johnson ’54 as two examples.

Dunn said another possible reason for the uptick in this year’s yield is the Admissions Office’s implementation of a number of new outreach tools this spring. In addition to sending emails to accepted students that were tailored to each student’s interests, the Admissions Office introduced a series of Google Hangouts allowing current students employed by the office to talk to prospective students.

He added that the relatively late dates of this year’s Bulldog Days — Yale’s signature three-day program to welcome accepted students, which was held from April 22–25 — meant that his office had more time to facilitate connections between prospective and current students.

Yale was not the only school with an increased yield rate this year. Stanford’s yield for the class of 2018 was recorded at 78.9 percent, a 2.9 percent increase from the year before, while Harvard maintained its record-setting yield rate of 82 percent. Princeton’s also went up, albeit slightly, from 68.7 percent to 69.2 percent.

Dunn said he thinks all these schools may have seen their yields rise in part because a higher number of students were accepted through early action programs.

“If a school is taking more students early, that might mean those students may not even be applying to other schools,” he said.

Quinlan echoed Dunn’s sentiment, adding that Yale noticed a slightly smaller overlap in accepted applicants with some of its peer institutions this year. As admission rates continue to plummet and application numbers soar, Dunn said this trend may continue.

Along with acceptance rates and application numbers, admissions officers tend to view yield rates as highly significant because a yield rate often strongly correlates with a school’s prestige, said Brian Jansen, a consultant for Noel-Levitz, an education consultancy that specializes in advising colleges on enrollment management and student recruitment.

Still, Jerome Lucido, director of the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, said it is important not to weigh the importance of yield rates too highly. He added that some schools boost yield rates artificially by selectively admitting students who are likely to attend, such as recruited athletes or legacy students.

Jansen said while yield rates are a constant source of stress for most colleges in America, schools such as Yale and Harvard are in a league of their own.

“For most schools, if they don’t get above a certain number of full-fee paying students to matriculate, their gates aren’t opening in the fall,” he said.

Dunn echoed Jansen’s sentiment, adding that Yale is not in that position because the school’s financial model is not as tuition-dependent.

Members of the class of 2018 who recently chose Yale over other elite schools agreed with Jansen’s assessment that more well-known schools tend to have higher yields.

Catie Liu ’18 said people outside of Yale still express surprise when she tells them that she chose Yale over Harvard.

“Harvard just sort of has this brand name and is very well marketed,” she said.

Still, Liu said she chose Yale because it seemed like a more collaborative university than its peers.

Dan McQuaid ’18 said he chose Yale over Princeton and Stanford in part because he thought Bulldog Days was a more welcoming and better organized program than those of both Stanford and Princeton.

He added that he was also impressed by Yale’s efforts to reach out to students likely to major in the sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics fields. After attending Yale Engineering and Science Weekend, an invitational program for high-achieving prospective students in the field, McQuaid said he was excited about the STEM opportunities available at Yale.

Likewise, Andrew Saydjari ’18, a likely STEM major from Wisconsin, said he chose Yale over a number of STEM-oriented schools because the University provided a more holistic and intellectually diverse community.

Students had to decide where they would matriculate by May 1.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Duke Admitted 75 Students from Waitlist for Class of 2018

The Class of 2018 comes with the highest admissions yield for Duke since 1979. 

Approximately 47.7 percent of admitted students accepted the offer to come to Duke, said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag. This represents an increase of more than 2 percent from last year's yield of 45.6 percent—and more than 5 percent from two years ago.

The uptick is due to more students admitted via early decision—a record 47 percent of the class—as well as a slight increase in regular decision yield, Guttentag said.

The incoming freshmen are also responsible for another milestone—more than half of them are students of color, a first for Duke.

"It goes without saying that we're pleased," Guttentag said. "I think it's a reflection of how the institution presents itself to prospective students and their families, I think it's a reflection of the quality of the education, I think it's a reflection of the commitment to diversity."

The class includes record numbers of Asian students, Latino/a students and international students—with 495, 159 and 183 students, respectively.

There are also 75 students admitted from a waitlist of more than 1,000. The University aims to admit a few students from the waitlist each year, Guttentag noted.

There was a slight shift in the class's geographic make-up. North Carolina, California, New York and Florida retained their spots as the four most popular states, and Texas took fifth place for the first time, replacing New Jersey.

Despite the increase in yield that Duke has seen in recent years, the University’s rate sits behind a number of its peer institutions—including Stanford University, the University of Chicago and the eight Ivy League schools, all of which consistently post yields of 50 percent or greater.

“That’s a reasonable goal, and I think that we’ll continue to work in that direction,” Guttentag said of a 50 percent yield. “We’re in a very competitive situation—the schools that also admit the students we admit are among the very best in the world, and we relish the competition.”

In terms of recent years' yield increase, Guttentag noted the importance of a strong Blue Devil Days program. Another recent trend is growing communication between parents of current students and parents of prospective students, he said.

“I think parents are seeing Duke as it is now, more than the Duke they recall from when they were thinking about colleges,” Guttentag said.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

MIT Enrolled 25 Students from Waitlist for Class of 2018

For many, the wait was over. But 28 students who held out months longer than everyone else this year finally received welcome news from MIT: they were admitted from the waitlist.

Of those 28 students, 25 are enrolling in the fall. In the preceding two undergraduate admissions cycles, no students were accepted from the waitlist.

In total, MIT currently expects to enroll 1,047 students in the Class of 2018, or 72.4 percent of the 1,447 students accepted, who themselves make up 7.9 percent of the 18,357 applicants. (These figures differ slightly from those in earlier reports because of waitlisted students, students who decide to take a gap year, and other factors.)

Based on these numbers, this year’s overall yield is the highest in MIT’s history, continuing a recent trend of increasing yield numbers. (Last year’s yield rate came out to 72.1 percent after the final enrollment dropped to 1,116 students after The Tech reported the Class of 2017 yield rate.)

The Class of 2018 is slightly smaller than the Classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017, which were admitted between the opening of Maseeh Hall and the closing of Bexley Hall. These three classes each numbered slightly over 1,100 students.

As for the students who were accepted but ultimately decided to go elsewhere, Schmill said that “Two of the more common choices of schools are Stanford and Harvard.”

Many of MIT’s peer institutions also posted high yields. Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale reported yields of 82 percent, 79 percent, 69 percent, and 72 percent respectively.

The Class of 2018 is 48 percent female and 52 percent male; 25 percent of the class is a member of an underrepresented minority (African American, Hispanic, or Native American); 17 percent are first-generation college students; and 9 percent are international students from 54 countries, according to Schmill.

Furthermore, 11 percent of the class self-identifies as African American, 30 percent as Asian American, 14 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 2 percent as Native American, 51 percent as White, and 9 percent as International; 1 percent did not respond. (The figures add up to more than 100 because respondents could select more than one option.)

Updated on Sept 3, 2014

Every member of MIT’s incoming freshman class has at least one thing in common: They all survived the stressful, competitive, and often soul-searching process of applying to college.
While most of his new classmates were toiling over essays and prepping for interviews, John Peurifoy was making a business of getting into college. Peurifoy, who is among 1,447 students admitted to MIT’s Class of 2018, says that for many high school seniors, the most dreaded element of applying to college is the college essay, with topics that can range from the generic to the quirky.
“One question I’ve seen is, ‘What’s your favorite dinosaur?’ … and I’m sure if you said T. Rex, they can nail your personality,” Peurifoy says. “But at the end of the day, you don’t know what the heck to do with that.”
Last year, to help students through this often-befuddling process, Peurifoy and a few friends created Essace — a startup that employs college students to mentor high school seniors during the application process. If a student is applying to MIT, for example, she would be matched with an MIT freshman who can offer an Institute-specific perspective on essays, interviews, and life on campus.
“It’s an idea of fit,” Peurifoy says. “If you apply to, say, Georgia Tech, there’s a part of the application that asks for a letter to your future roommate. That is a different experience versus a school like MIT that has a portion of the application that says, ‘Hey, did you make anything cool? Talk to us about that.’ It’s important for a student to understand the personality of the school.”
For those high school seniors who will be tackling MIT applications in the near future, this year’s crop of incoming freshmen is a diverse pool of potential mentors.
Peurifoy is among 18,356 students who applied for admission to the Class of 2018. Of those, the Institute admitted 1,447 — an acceptance rate of 7.9 percent. Of those accepted, 1,043 have enrolled, for a yield of 72 percent. The Class of 2018 is 52 percent male, 48 percent female, and ethnically diverse: 11 percent identify (in part or entirely) as black or African-American, 30 percent as Asian-American, 14 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 50 percent as white or Caucasian. Nine percent are citizens of foreign countries.
First-year students hail from most U.S. states and 53 nations; the freshman with the longest journey traveled from Sydney, Australia. The majority of the 797 high schools represented by the incoming students are public, with 14 percent private and 7 percent religious; 1 percent of the class was home-schooled.
For Peurifoy, who grew up in Springfield, Mo., finally setting foot on campus as an MIT freshman was “an emotional thing.” He recalls that he was often bored in high school, until he stumbled upon 6.002x (Circuits and Electronics) — the first online course offered by MITx. Since then, Peurifoy has taken multiple courses through edX, from quantum computing to public speaking.
“MIT is my dream playground,” says Peurifoy, who credits his parents and grandfather with supporting him in his studies. “It’s really cool being able to come here to a place that you’ve always thought about, you’ve always imagined, you’ve always dreamed, and live it.”
As for what he may study, Peurifoy is contemplating math, physics, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering — subjects he learned about through go-kart racing. He first picked up the hobby by watching races with his father, a former stock car driver; Peurifoy sold candy bars in middle school to raise money for his own go-kart. Building and racing go-karts was an exhilarating experience, he says — but crashing them was the real lesson.
“I had to buy every part I broke, so I didn’t want to break that many,” Peurifoy says. “Go-kart racing has been great from a mechanical experience. It forced me to realize the world doesn’t work the way it does on paper, and if you’re not willing to literally get grease on your hands and build something, nothing’s going to come of it.”
Exploring new dimensions
For Alaisha Alexander, “Grease” — the musical — was an unexpected introduction to engineering. Since middle school, the Miami native has participated in community theater as both a stagehand and cast member. It wasn’t until her senior year, when she started spending more time at the theater, when she really began to learn the ropes — literally.
“I would help with lights, and mess around with sound, circuit boards, and how to build sets and take them down,” Alexander says. “I found you have to be very cognizant of nature to create anything.”
Last year, Alexander was appointed stage manager for the theater’s production of “Grease,” a musical with one integral prop — a car dubbed “Greased Lightning.” The theater’s stage was too small to accommodate an actual car, so Alexander and her crew built one out of wood. On opening night, minutes before the start of the play, Alexander realized the car was still too big. She quickly sawed off a portion, drilled the back-end to the front, and during intermission, rigged a rope-and-pulley system to drag the car across the stage.
“Even though I hated that car so much, I actually really enjoyed myself,” Alexander recalls. “That’s when I realized I really love engineering.”
At MIT, Alexander hopes to study mechanical engineering, as well as mathematics — a subject that was, in some respects, a hard-won opportunity for her.
“My [local] school was considered an urban school. … AP classes were difficult to get, and you had to fight for them,” Alexander says.
Instead, she chose to attend Young Women’s Preparatory Academy, an all-girls’ school that offered considerably more AP courses. Alexander credits a math teacher there with sparking her interest in math.
“My teacher would come in and say, ‘OK, pop quiz, ladies,’ and write this complicated stuff on the board and say, ‘I had a dream last night and this is what I saw. I want you to solve it,’” Alexander recalls.
Although she could never come up with the solution, Alexander started to enjoy the process of breaking down the problems.
“The mechanics of mathematics is absolutely gorgeous,” Alexander says. “In math, you can break things down into one dimension or push them out into dimensions we can never understand. Math is a language that is not only universal, but absolutely applicable to anything and everything you can find in the world.”
Alexander says math has even helped her to relate to others, in the sense that she has gone out of her way to find a common denominator among new acquaintances — something she looks forward to doing at MIT.
“Coming here and talking with people, everyone has had the experience of not quite fitting in,” Alexander says. “This is a place where you can just do what you do, and have fun doing it. There are no cliques to fit into.”
One arrow at a time
Jin Kim can certainly relate to the feeling of being slightly different. Kim, who hails from Brea, Calif., was always a sporty kid, and planned on joining the basketball or tennis team once he reached high school. But his plans derailed when he strained his back in a friendly match with his tennis coach during the summer before his freshman year. The injury made sitting painful, and Kim found that the only thing that eased the pain was a small green cushion.
“The first day of high school, I carried that cushion around because the chairs were too hard,” Jin remembers. “Every day I would go home and just lie down on my bed and do homework. Freshman year was kind of dark.”
One day, he and his mother came across a magazine ad for archery lessons — by the head coach of the Olympic archery team. Although it wasn’t as active a sport as basketball or tennis, Kim decided to “give archery a shot.”
After his first lesson, Kim felt physically strong. But mentally, he was drained.
“I really felt, even at that beginning stage, that it was a battle against myself,” Kim says. “In basketball, when you’re shooting, others can block you. But in archery, there’s no one to blame but yourself.”
As he perfected his physical form, Kim found that what really improved his shots was a steady and calm focus. His performance eventually earned him a spot on the 2014 USA Archery Team, as well as the USA Junior Archery Dream Team, consisting of the nation’s top 24 archers ages 12 to 18. As part of this team, Kim traveled to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., where, among other lessons, he learned “mental management” — essentially, the ability to shut out all other stimuli, and only visualize shooting an arrow.
“Just close our eyes, take deep breaths, and pretend we’re at the archery range, shooting,” Kim says. “I even tried it on a roller coaster, but it didn’t work so well.”
The mental skill did pay off this past summer, when Kim traveled to his native South Korea to represent the U.S. in an international archery competition, set in Seoul’s Olympic Park. It was an intimidating venue, featuring a large stage, crowds of onlookers, and a widescreen television broadcasting close-ups of each competitor.
“When I picked up my bow, I could hear the announcer, and I could see my face on the screen, and I could hear everyone clapping,” Kim recalls. “But after that first arrow, I settled in, and it really came down to me and the target.”
In addition to providing a much-needed outlet for Kim, archery may have given him a calling. During an earlier competition, he noticed an archer shooting despite a significant disadvantage: The man had no arms.
“He was using a mouthpiece between his teeth that he hooked to the bow between his legs, and he pulled his legs back to shoot,” Kim recalls. “Just by using a medical tool, he can enjoy the sport like I do, and he shoots better than I do! That was a great experience for me.”
That encounter inspired Kim to pursue biomedical engineering at MIT.
“I’m going to take it one class at a time, just like shooting arrows,” Kim says. “One class isn’t more important than another, just as the first arrow is just as important as the last.”
Taking center stage
While Kim competed in South Korea, Amelia Bryan performed on an altogether different international stage, in Glasgow, Scotland.
This past summer, Bryan, a classically trained ballerina, qualified to compete in the GenĂ©e International Ballet Competition: one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions of its kind, and known as the “friendly competition,” since dancers compete not against each other, but against a standard.
“That really creates a very supportive, family environment,” Bryan says. “After [the movie] ‘Black Swan’ came out, people thought of ballet as cutthroat … and it is very easy to understand how it can get competitive. But in general, ballet companies can be very close-knit.”
For a time, Bryan entertained the prospect of joining a professional company. She first took up dance, at age 3, as a way to correct her pigeon-toed feet. She eventually moved from tap-dancing to ballet, and ultimately to a style called the Royal Academy of Dance, which she describes as “the most unaffected and classical of ballet training,” embodying popular works such as “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “The Nutcracker.”
As a member of a pre-professional company, Bryan has danced in the shoes of many classic characters, from the fairy godmother in “Cinderella” to the title role in “The Snow Queen.”
“I really like performing, because it’s a way of getting out of yourself,” Bryan says. “There’s this crazy mash-up of emotions, and I really try to commit to the character that I’m playing.”
This proved a bit difficult this past winter, as her company’s first performance of “The Nutcracker” coincided with MIT’s date for early-action decisions.
“I was thinking, ‘If I don’t get it, I somehow have to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy tonight’ — which is this really happy, welcoming, nurturing role,” Bryan recalls. “And if I do get in, then I can’t be insanely spastic and excited all day. I still have to dance this fairly grounded role.”
Bryan received good news, and danced well. At MIT, she hopes to pursue biomedical engineering, along with studies in global health, although she is open to other possibilities — an attitude she adopted early on in her education. Bryan was home-schooled by her mother, a former NASA employee who helped, among other things, to redesign the agency’s crew escapes and to train astronauts after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986.
“What was wonderful about my mom was that every year, she’d sit my brother and me down and say, ‘What do you want to learn?’” Bryan says. “There were obviously things we had to learn, but we still got to be masters of our own education, even at a very young age. And I think it has been really helpful to me to have this idea of, if I really want to learn something, what’s stopping me?”
Rising in the ranks
While Bryan’s academic education took place around the family’s kitchen table, Monica Valcourt, of McLean, Va., spent most of her formative years away from home.
Valcourt is one of six siblings, all of whom attended boarding schools. In eighth grade, Valcourt chose to attend a local military academy — a decision that tested her mettle from day one.
“You had to wake up super early, and you had to do a sport, so I joined Raiders, which is kind of like Boy Scouts on steroids,” Valcourt says. “There were obstacle courses, hand-to-hand combat, lots of camping, knot-tying, making rope bridges and crossing them, and learning first aid. And a lot of the times, I was the only girl in the group.”
Valcourt initially felt intimidated, and looked to others to take charge. But a trek through the mountains on a wintry morning changed her outlook. During a routine Raiders excursion, Valcourt and 11 other cadets camped overnight in the snow, using tarps and rope as a makeshift shelter. At sunrise, as the company made its way down the mountain, the commanding officer — a former drill sergeant — twisted his ankle.
“There were these really big guys, seniors, and I looked at them immediately, assuming they would take charge when he rolled his ankle, and they looked at me and said, ‘Alright, you’re the best at map-reading, take us down,’” Valcourt remembers. “And I realized, ‘Hey, I’m competent, I can do this.’ That was an eye-opening thing.”
She says she experienced a similar epiphany in her decision to apply to MIT. As a sophomore, Valcourt took an MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) course in introductory psychology, a subject that wasn’t offered at her school. She recalls reading the textbooks, watching the videos, and doing the homework — efforts that ultimately earned her an A in the course.
“I thought MIT was this strange, scary place, and I’d never be able to go to classes and know what was going on,” Valcourt says. “But seeing [a class] broken down and seeing how well the professors talked to the students, and that he wasn’t this completely foreboding figure — I thought, ‘Wow, I could actually do this.’”
The experience prompted Valcourt to take other classes through MIT OCW, including computer programming — a subject she hopes to major in at MIT.
Living on a civilian campus will be a bit of an adjustment for Valcourt, who eventually earned the title of battalion commander — the highest-ranking cadet at her academy.
“I had a staff that had to salute me every day and call me ‘Colonel Valcourt,’” she says. “So it’s kind of strange coming here and everyone calls me Monica. I like it — it’s cool to be one of the kids."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Stanford's Preliminary Yield for Class of 2018 is 78.9%

The Office of Undergraduate Admission at Stanford reported on Monday that 78.9 percent of admitted students had accepted their offer of admission to Stanford to join the Class of 2018. This represents a 2.9 percent jump from the 76.7 percent yield for the Class of 2017 and the highest yield of enrolled students in Stanford’s history.
This means that roughly 1,690 students have enrolled to join the Class of 2018 out of the 2,138 students who were admitted.
These numbers are still preliminary, and are subject to change until the final class statistics are presented in September, according to Colleen Lim M.A. ’80, associate director of undergraduate admission.
“Any way you look at it, the Class of 2018 is extraordinary,” Lim said. “We anticipated that our overall yield would increase due to Stanford’s outstanding reputation and … the 8.5 percent increase in applications, but we were very pleased with these amazing results.”
Lim noted that the incoming class has a 50/50 split of male and female matriculants and represents students from all 50 U.S. states and 57 other countries.