Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Columbia Accepted 2,228 Students for the Class of 2019

Congratulations to the class of 2019! Admissions decisions were mailed at 3 p.m. today on College Walk. 36,250 students applied this year, and 2,228 students can expect big envelopes in the mail. The admissions rate is 6.1 percent—slightly lower than last year's rate of 6.94 percent.

For those of you who can't wait for snail mail, you'll be able to check your decision at 5 p.m. on the admissions portal.

Here's a statement from Jessica Marinaccio, the dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, on the new class:

“We are excited to release acceptances today to students chosen from the largest applicant pool in Columbia history. Over the past few months, the admissions staff has reviewed tens of thousands of applications, looking for students who not only have impressive academic records, but also have character and commitment, a dedication to positively impacting the world and boundless intellectual curiosity—all qualities that we believe are quintessentially Columbian."

“These 2,228 students are bright, innovative, thoughtful, and inquisitive. They are leaders and thinkers who have made a difference in their own communities and who will continue to do so here, as have the more than 250 classes of Columbians before them. They hail from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the territories and 76 countries around the world. We are confident that the diverse backgrounds, experiences and voices that the members of the Class of 2019 will bring with them to Morningside Heights will shape this community in significant and wonderful ways.”

And for all of the new Columbia Lions already dreaming about their first year, check out Spectrum's the Shaft for more info about first-year housing options.

Penn Accepted 3,697 Students for the Class of 2019

Penn’s acceptance rate fell below 10 percent for the second year in a row.

Yesterday at 5 p.m., regular decision applicants to the Class of 2019 were able to access their decisions via the online applicant portal. Of 37,267 students who applied to Penn in the early and regular rounds, 3,697 were admitted, leading to an overall acceptance rate of 9.9 percent. Last year’s overall acceptance rate was also 9.9 percent.

Penn plans to enroll 2,420 students in the Class of 2019 across the College of Arts and Sciences, the Wharton School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Nursing.

This year’s admissions cycle was unique in that applicants had an extra four days to submit application materials — the Office of Admissions chose to extend the deadline in order to provide students with more time to enjoy their holidays. Previously, the deadline had only been extended in the case of extenuating circumstances, such as Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Common Application glitches last year.

An all-time high of 54.4 percent of the Class of 2019 was filled with early decision applicants, making the regular decision round more competitive.

Students in the Class of 2019 come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam. Pennsylvania has the highest representation with 483 students, 170 of whom are from Philadelphia, followed by New York with 439 and California with 412. New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Massachusetts also have significant representation in the incoming class.

Fifteen percent of the accepted students are international, hailing from 84 countries around the world.

Thirteen percent accepted students for the class of 2019 are first-generation college students, while another 14 percent have parents or grandparents who attended Penn. Forty-five percent of the class self-identified as minority students on their applications.

Over 8,600 alumni offered interviews to 91 percent of applicants through the Penn Alumni Interview Program, falling short of the program’s goal of interviewing 100 percent of applicants by this year. However, the number is an improvement upon the 86 percent of applicants interviewed last year and 51 percent interviewed in 2012.

“These students will come together in late summer to begin their shared experience as a class, but Penn’s admissions officers were drawn in over the last few months by their individual stories,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said in a statement. “Each class develops their own identity over time, and there are no fixed conclusions. The experimental nature of bringing together a class is what transforms and revitalizes our campus and community each year.”

Dartmouth Accepted 2,120 Students for the Class of 2019

The College offered admission to the Class of 2019 to 2,120 students yesterday for an overall acceptance rate of 10.3 percent, down from last year’s 11.5 percent acceptance rate, the College announced. Dean of admissions and financial aid Maria Laskaris said that, in terms of the percentage breakdown, this year’s pool of accepted students constitutes the most diverse group of students in College history.

The acceptance rate is the second highest in the Ivy League, lower only than Cornell University, which accepted 14.9 percent of students. Brown University admitted 8.49 percent of applicants, Columbia University admitted 6.1 percent, Princeton University admitted 6.99 percent, the University of Pennsylvania admitted 9.9 percent and Yale University admitted 6.49 percent.

Harvard University has not yet published its regular decision numbers, but The Harvard Crimson reported in February that the University had received an all-time high number of 37,305 applications.

The overall applicant pool increased by more than six percent from last year to 20,504 applicants, following a 14 percent decrease from the year before.

Laskaris said because last year’s class had a larger yield rate then expected, the College admitted 100 fewer students this year than were admitted to the Class of 2018.

The decision to decrease the total number of admitted students came because the admissions office did not want to find themselves in the position of having a “supersized” freshman class again, Laskaris said.

Laskaris said that while she is “obviously thrilled” with the pool of students that was accepted, the combination of a higher number of applications and the decision to admit 100 fewer students “added pressure” and made for a “grueling selection process.”

Laskaris emphasized that the process was difficult not only from a numerical perspective, but also because the vast majority of the students who applied had adequate academic preparation to enroll and could have both benefitted from and contributed to the on-campus community.

When marketing the College to prospective students, Laskaris said the admissions office is trying to ensure that bright, talented students from a diverse set of backgrounds understand the College’s distinctive characteristics and opportunities.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about the core of the work here and thinking about all the students who might be a good fit here and how to share with them those special distinguishing features,” Laskaris said.

One key change in the admissions process this year was the addition of a supplemental essay prompt where students could choose to answer one of five essay options, Laskaris said.

She said the purpose of the prompt was to give “added nuance and texture” to the application so the admissions team could “get to know the students a little bit better.”

Examples of these supplemental prompts include describing the meaning and history of one’s name or sharing an meaningful, intellectual experience.

The new supplement was successful, Laskaris said, as the admissions office was able to use the supplement to help “make some of the nuanced and difficult decisions.”

In terms of the makeup of the admitted class, 60.9 percent of the total admitted students attend public schools, 27.2 percent attend private schools and 11.9 percent attend parochial schools, according to Laskaris.

The overall regional breakdown is 13.1 percent from New England, 22.8 percent from the Mid-Atlantic, 19.3 percent from the South, 9.3 percent from the Midwest and 26.9 percent from West, as well as 8.5 percent international students.

Students of color comprise 49.8 percent of admitted students, international students and legacies make up 7.9 percent each and first-generation college students comprise 14.9 percent.

Of those ranked, 38.4 percent of students admitted were valedictorians of their class, 10.1 percent were salutatorians and 94.9 percent were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, according to Laskaris. The mean SAT score was 2216 and the mean ACT score was 32.8.

Forty-six percent of accepted students are eligible to receive need-based financial aid, with 14 percent being Pell Grant recipients. The average scholarship amount is $44,142.

In December, the College admitted 483 early decision applicants to the Class of 2019, or about 26 percent of the 1,859-person applicant pool, which was the largest in College history.

College consultant John Merrill said that a potential reason for the increase in the number of applications could be due to a possible false perception that it would be easier to gain admission the College to than other Ivy League schools because of the 14 percent application drop last year.

Merrill added that he would have thought that the recent media attention surrounding Dartmouth would have affected application numbers more than it did.

As a college counselor, Merrill said that he makes sure his clients know current issues with the colleges to which they are applying.

In regards to Dartmouth specifically, Merrill said he would mention to his clients that College President Phil Hanlon is addressing on-campus issues through his “Moving Dartmouth Forward” plan. Merrill added that he supports the proposed reforms.

Merrill emphasized that his thoughts on what caused a rise in application numbers are subjective, as it is difficult to explain exactly what could have caused an increase.

Laskaris anticipates that prospective students and their families will want to know more information about “Moving Dartmouth Forward,”and the admissions office plans to share this information in more detail during Dimensions of Dartmouth — a series of weekends when accepted students are invited to campus.

One aspect of “Moving Dartmouth Forward” that Laskaris said she is particularly excited to talk about is the work being done to prepare the residential communities that the Class of 2019 will pilot, and that she thinks there is a lot of excitement about the new system.

Regarding issues affecting campus today, Laskaris said that the admissions office aims to be “open and transparent” about the work being done to address high-risk behaviors, student safety and sexual assault.

Laskaris said she thinks that students and parents are concerned about these issues regardless of where they are applying. She thinks that the College has taken “tangible, good steps” to address these issues, and that is something that “parents and students are really interested in knowing.”

Sam Reed, a prospective student accepted yesterday from Falmouth, Maine, said that having good friends at the College influenced his decision to apply.

In addition, Reid said he noticed that alumni frequently wear College apparel.

“That showed me how proud they were to have gone there and how good of a place it must be,” Reid said.

Matt Norris, another prospective student accepted yesterday from Bangor, Maine, said that a friend in the Class of 2018 inspired him to apply.

“I saw her journey through freshman year, the opportunities she was presented, all of the things she got to do and the classes she got to take,” Norris said. He added that the international nature of the school and the vitality and diversity of the student body also encouraged him to apply.

Norris, who is deciding between several colleges, said that he jumped up, flailed his arms and screamed when he found out that he was accepted.

“My heart is still racing whenever I think about it,” he said.;postID=8113770840905883046

Yale Accepted 1,963 Students for the Class of 2019

After completing its review of the second largest group of students to ever apply to the college, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions accepted roughly 6.49 percent of the 30,237 students who applied to Yale.

This is a slight uptick from last year’s rate of 6.26 percent. Although this year’s pool had 695 fewer applicants than last year, the University accepted 27 more students, offering admission to 1,962 students in total. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Yale’s acceptance rate has remained in the 6 percent range, after hovering around 7.5 percent from 2009 to 2011.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said the University and its peer institutions have seen larger, stronger and more diverse applicant pools over the past five years.

“As we emerge from this incredibly challenging selection process, my colleagues and I are inspired by Yale’s extraordinary applicant pool,” Quinlan said in a statement. “The accomplishments and stories shared by many of the top secondary school students in the world were truly remarkable.”

Quinlan added that this year’s group of admitted students includes increased representation of virtually every underrepresented group in higher education, with students from 65 different countries and all 50 states.

Furthermore, 16.8 percent of this year’s admitted class are first-generation college students, up from 12.5 percent only two years ago.

Quinlan said he hopes to matriculate roughly 1,350 students for the class of 2019.

Although Quinlan expressed excitement in regards to this year’s group of admitted students, he acknowledged that the University was unable to accept a large number of talented applicants. However, Quinlan said, the University will be able to admit far more students with the opening of the two new residential colleges in 2017 — a very exciting prospect.

“This makes me more excited for the two new residential colleges, because there are so many students we’d love to admit, and will be able to in few years time,” Quinlan told the News.

He added that this year’s group of admits will be juniors when the two new colleges open, meaning some of these students will be able to move into the colleges.

Director of Admissions Margit Dahl ’75 said that although the number of applications to the University has dramatically increased since she began working for the Admissions Office several decades ago, she is struck by how little the review process in the committee room has changed during this time.

“It is still labor-intensive and incredibly thorough,” Dahl said. “We are also the only school I know of where faculty and deans are so involved in admissions committee meetings. This year 26 deans and 29 faculty members participated in committee.”

She added that participating deans and faculty members provide an important perspective in committee discussions.

Harvard, Princeton and Brown recorded all-time low acceptance rates this year, with Harvard admitting 5.3 percent of its applicants, and Princeton and Brown offering admission to 6.99 and 8.5 percent of their applicants, respectively. Columbia and Dartmouth also saw lower acceptance rates this year, accepting 6.1 and 10.3 percent of their applicants, respectively. The University of Pennsylvania’s acceptance rate held steady at 9.9 percent, the same acceptance rate UPenn recorded last year, while Cornell’s admissions rate increased to 14.9 percent.

Quinlan said the office now has the “fun, but challenging” task of convincing these highly qualified admits to choose Yale.

Director of Outreach and Recruitment Mark Dunn ’07 added that current Yale students are the most important recruitment tool available to the University, and that the entire office looks forward to working with various groups on campus to host Bulldog Days in April.

New admits interviewed said they are thrilled about their acceptance to the University. Three of four students interviewed said they plan on attending Bulldog Days.

“I sort of knew about the decision beforehand because I received a likely letter, but I’m still so excited to have been accepted and it’s just so incredible because Yale is such a cool place,” said Divya Gopinath, a high school senior from New York. “I know other people from my school who have gone there, and it’s an honor to have been accepted with them.”

Gopinath added that she is seriously considering both Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Carter Guensler, a high school senior from Atlanta who was admitted regular decision, said he is happy about being accepted to Yale — his dream school. However, he said, he does not think he can seriously consider Yale because he was not offered any financial aid. Guensler added that he was offered generous merit scholarships by schools such as Duke and Vanderbilt.

“As excited as I am about getting into my favorite college, I’m also very excited about not having to pay for college,” Guensler said.

Additionally, 1,097 students from this year’s pool were offered spots on the waitlist. Last year, 14 waitlisted students were eventually offered admission to the University. Quinlan said he hopes to “resolve the wait list as much as possible in the month of May.”

Admitted students must inform the University of their decisions by May 1.

This article has been updated to reflect the version published in print on April 1, 2015.

Correction: March 31

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the percentage of first-generation college students increased by 4.3 percent this year. In fact, 16.8 percent of this year’s class are first-generation college students, up from 12.5 percent two years ago.

Brown Accepted 2,580 Students for the Class of 2019

The University offered admission to just under 8.5 percent of applicants to the class of 2019, breaking last year’s record-low acceptance rate of 8.6 percent, said Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73.

Out of the 30,397 students who applied — the second largest pool in University history — 2,580 students were admitted. The 1,970 students accepted through the regular decision process will join over 600 students admitted in December.

The percentage of first-generation college students admitted decreased from 18 percent last year to 13 percent this year, Miller said.

Sixty-one percent of admits intend to apply for financial aid — slightly down from last year’s 67 percent, he said.

Admitted students hail from all 50 states and 85 countries, according to a University press release. Among domestic admits, the best-represented states are California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas. Among international admits, the top five countries represented are China, the United Kingdom, Canada, India and Korea.

The diversity of the admitted class of 2019 is fairly consistent with that in the past few admission cycles, Miller said. Forty-five percent of admits self-identify as African American, Latino, Native American or Asian American.

Fifty-nine percent of admits attend public high schools, while 41 percent attend either private or parochial schools.

Though the pool of accepted students is similar in many ways to the pools of previous years, this year saw a shift in intended concentrations. Though seven of the top nine intended concentrations — engineering, biology, computer science, biochemistry, international relations, economics and political science — were holdovers from last year, history and English also joined the list. Interest in concentrating in history increased by about 80 percent since last year, according to the press release.

Over the last decade, there has been a gradual increase in students pursuing sciences, causing the number of students pursuing the humanities to drop, Miller said. This trend may result from the fact that the American economic climate has made students focus more on the practicality of their degrees. But this year’s increased interest in history and English “hopefully suggests a greater interest in liberal arts generally,” he added.

Brown’s special admission programs saw even lower admission rates. The Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program accepted just 3 percent of 512 applicants. The Program in Liberal Medical Education admitted 90 of 2,216 students, marking a 4 percent acceptance rate, Miller said. These two programs are “widely competitive with an acceptance rate consistently in the low single digits,” he added.

It is hard to predict how many students will accept positions on the waitlist, Miller said. “We do anticipate to take some students off the waitlist this year,” he said.

The other Ivy League universities also released their admission decisions Tuesday. Their admission rates were fairly consistent with those in previous years — Columbia accepted 6.1 percent, Cornell accepted 14.9 percent, Dartmouth accepted 10.3 percent, Harvard accepted 5.3 percent, Princeton accepted 7 percent, Penn accepted 9.9 percent and Yale accepted 6.5 percent. Harvard had yet to release its admission statistics by press time.

Many admitted students expressed surprise and excitement about their offers of admission.

“I fully expected rejection,” said Scott Fogle, who hails from Pennsylvania and is currently taking a gap year in San Francisco. Fogle said he hopes to visit the University this month before making his final decision.

Ann Tanaka from California said she tried not to become too attached to any one school before getting accepted. “I’ve seen qualified people get rejected and surprising ones get admitted,” Tanaka said.

All admitted students are invited to visit the University during A Day on College Hill, which will occur April 21- 23. “ADOCH is the University’s most important recruitment program,” Miller said, adding that the University expects about 800 admitted students and 500 parents to come to campus for the event.

Cornell Accepted 6,234 Students for the Class of 2019

Cornell’s newly admitted class of freshmen is the most diverse and international in its 150-year history, with prospective undergraduates representing 100 nations from around the world, based on citizenship.

Cornell received 41,907 applications for admission to the Class of 2019, the second highest applicant pool in university history. A total of 6,234 applicants were admitted, and 3,590 were offered a place on a wait list.

The selection status of high school seniors who applied to enter Cornell was released online March 31 at 5 p.m.

A record number of admitted students this year – 1,605, or 25.7 percent of the admitted freshman class – self-identify as underrepresented minorities. In addition, Cornell has admitted its highest-ever percentages of students of color (48 percent), which includes Asian-Americans (more than 21 percent).

“The extraordinary talent and diversity found in the Class of 2019 leaves little doubt that we are attracting the best students from around the world,” said Jason Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment. “In this year of sesquicentennial celebrations, I am heartened to know that we are admitting a community of scholars that exemplifies Ezra Cornell’s founding principle ‘any person, any study.’”

The admitted students are 53 percent female and reside in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – and in 79 countries outside the United States. Besides New York, the home states most represented are California, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The class also includes more than 700 first-generation students, more than 800 Cornell legacies and more than 200 recruited athletes.

“During my tenure, each admitted class has become more extraordinary, and admission candidates continue to raise the bar on what it means to be outstanding,” said Shawn Felton, director of undergraduate admissions. “When I look at the incredible student of color diversity alongside large numbers of first-generation students and the variety of places from which our admitted students come, it’s hard not to feel proud of what Cornell is about and what we are all working to achieve here.”

The overall admit rate (among both early decision and regular decision candidates selected for admission) was 14.9 percent of applicants. Admitted students have until May 1 to decide whether to accept Cornell’s offer of admission.

To help students in their decision, the university is hosting a new virtual yield event, CUontheHill – an online hub and social network starting April 1 for newly admitted students to learn more about Cornell from selected current students and alumni ambassadors. CUontheHill Day, an online event April 11, will include alumni from around the world.

Cornell’s traditional yield activities in April include Cornell Days, April 9-20, when nearly 1,500 admitted students are expected to visit the campus; and Diversity Hosting Month, April 8-27, which draws about 400 underrepresented minority students each year. Off-campus, yield events around the world include a reception April 5 in Mumbai, India, for newly admitted Tata Scholars.

New spring admission program

Cornell begins a new admission option this year, the First-Year Spring Admission program. A small number of students were notified March 31 that they had been admitted for entry in January 2016. Cornell anticipates enrolling 125 new students in this inaugural class, as freshmen in the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Human Ecology; and the School of Hotel Administration.

“During a time when we are turning away tens of thousands of applicants, the First-Year Spring Admission program will allow us to expand access to a Cornell education,” said Locke.

Harvard Accepted 1990 Students for the Class of 2019

At 5 p.m. on March 31, Harvard College sent admission notifications to 1,990 of the record 37,307 students who had applied for admission to the Class of 2019.

“The Admissions Committee has assembled a class that promises to be one of the best in Harvard’s long history,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “It will be exciting to witness their progress during their Harvard years and beyond.”

For 90 percent of American families, it costs less to attend Harvard than one of the nation’s public universities. “Bringing promising students to Harvard is our main objective, and we believe that financial circumstances should never cloud a student’s decision to apply,” said Sarah C. Donahue, Griffin Director of Financial Aid. “That is why we remain committed to supporting every admitted student with need-based aid.”

Harvard requires no contribution from families with annual incomes below $65,000, and asks an average of 10 percent of income from the majority of families receiving financial aid. Even families with incomes greater than $150,000 are eligible for aid depending on particular circumstances, such as multiple children in college or unusual medical or other essential expenses. “Based on current projections, more than half of Harvard students will receive need-based aid, and their families will pay on average only $12,000 annually,” said Donahue.

For students not receiving need-based aid, the total cost of attendance (including tuition, room, board, and health and other fees) is scheduled to increase by 3.5 percent, to $60,659, for the 2015-16 academic year. Tuition specifically will increase by only 3 percent, to $41,632.

The Class of 2019 will arrive from cities, suburbs, and small towns throughout the United States, bringing a strong international presence as well. About 22 percent come from the mid-Atlantic states, 21 percent from the Western and Mountain states, 18 percent from the South, 17 percent from New England, 11 percent from the Midwest, and 11 percent from the U.S. territories and abroad. International citizens make up 10.8 percent of the class and 7.7 percent are U.S. dual citizens.

Fifty-two percent of those admitted are men, reflecting the fact that more men than women applied. Asian-Americans comprise 21 percent of the admitted students, Latinos 13.3 percent, African-Americans 12.1 percent, and Native American or Native Hawaiian 2 percent. All but the Native American percentages are records.

Compared to last year, larger percentages of admitted students intend to concentrate in the social sciences (26 percent vs. 23.8 percent), the humanities (15 percent vs. 13.6 percent), and computer science (6 percent vs. 4.5 percent). Those interested in biological sciences make up 19.6 percent of the class, 12.2 percent engineering, 7 percent physical sciences, and 6.4 percent mathematics. “Undecided” decreased from 8.3 percent to 7.8 percent.

“As always, the applicant pool contained many more talented and highly qualified candidates than we had room to admit,” said Marlyn E. McGrath, director of admissions. “Many students presented strong academic credentials, as evidenced by standardized test scores and grades.” About 13,500 students scored 700 or above on the SAT critical reading test; 16,100 scored 700 or above on the SAT math test; 13,900 scored 700 or higher on the SAT writing test; and 3,200 were ranked first in their high school classes.

“In addition to standard academic measures, students present a wide array of academic accomplishments, and our faculty evaluates research of all kinds, and portfolios across all academic and creative disciplines, to identify the next generation of scholars for Harvard,” McGrath added.

Members of the teaching faculty serving on the admissions committee are: Ali Asani, Ann M. Blair, Peter J. Burgard, Diana L. Eck, Edward L. Glaeser, Benedict H. Gross, Guido Guidotti, Jay M. Harris, Joseph D. Harris, Robert D. Howe, Thomas R. Jehn, Rakesh Khurana, Nancy E. Kleckner, Harry R. Lewis, Richard M. Losick, James J. McCarthy, Louis Menand, Michael D. Mitzenmacher, Cherry Murray, Anne C. Shreffler, Alison Simmons, Frans Spaepen, Richard F. Thomas, James H. Waldo, Robert M. Woollacott, and Amir Yacoby.

Recruitment begins each year in February with direct outreach to promising juniors. More than 62 percent of all admitted students and 80 percent of admitted minority students (including 87 percent of Latinos and 86 percent of African-Americans) appeared on the original College Board and ACT search lists that helped launch Harvard’s outreach program for the class.

Looking ahead, staff members will again visit 125 cities this spring and fall in tandem with Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University, targeting high school juniors who may eventually join the Class of 2020. “Harvard will also travel with Princeton, Yale, and the University of Virginia to visit 20 more cities in the fall, reaching out to students from modest economic backgrounds,” said Kanoe Lum Williams, assistant director of joint travel.

“Each year, Harvard admissions officers visit all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, and see nearly 50,000 high school students and parents, as well as more than 3,000 high school guidance counselors,” added Jennifer Gandy, director of joint travel.

“Recruitment in its many forms is fundamental to the success of Harvard and its peer institutions,” said Roger Banks, director of recruitment. “Members of the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment (UMRP) and the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI) once again played a vital role in our success,” added Kaitlin Howrigan, associate director of recruitment.

“The commitment of our UMRP coordinators continues to produce excellent results each year,” said Lucerito Ortiz, co-director of UMRP. Added Tia Ray, assistant director, “Our network of close relationships with schools and communities will ensure success with future recruiting as well.”

“The Harvard Financial Aid Initiative reflects one of Harvard’s core values, providing access to Harvard for students regardless of financial means,” said Charlene Kim, HFAI director.

“Our student recruiters spoke with many talented students now admitted to the Class of 2019 who never dreamed Harvard was possible,” added Pharen Bowman, HFAI assistant director. “As a person who would have benefited from the HFAI program, I continue to be inspired by students who come to Harvard as a result of HFAI.”

A new initiative directed toward first-generation students, headed by Niki Johnson, is also off to a fast start. The Harvard First Generation Program (HFGP) aims to remind prospective students and their families that Harvard has long sought those whose parents have not graduated from a four-year college. The new program promotes early college awareness, provides information to help first-generation students navigate the admissions process, and works closely with the Harvard First Generation Student Union, a student organization formed in 2013. This new initiative adds to the efforts of Kevin Jennings, who organized alumni through the Harvard Alumni Association to serve as mentors, sponsor recruiting events, and reinforce Harvard’s commitment to those who will be the first in their families to come to Harvard.

The Undergraduate Admissions Council (UAC) and the undergraduate tour guides and greeters work year-round with campus visitors, welcoming prospective applicants and hosting them overnight. David Evans, co-director of the UAC, noted that “The credibility current undergraduates have with prospective students is critical in informing them about what life at Harvard is really like.”

“The UAC members get well past the conventional wisdom about Harvard,” said fellow co-director Maxwell Dikkers.

Thomas Hamel, also a co-director, concurred: “We hear from students and families that UAC members provide information that simply can’t be quantified in guidebooks and brochures.”

“Our tour guides and greeters see more than 40,000 visitors each year to Cambridge,” said Banks, director of visitor services and co-director of the Tour Guide Program. “Our students’ personal stories make Harvard come alive for our visitors.” Added co-director Ortiz, “We get many compliments from the public about our tour guides and their ability to relate to a wide range of people with grace and humor.”

“Many prospective students from around the world decide to apply based on their time with our tour guides,” added Bryce Gilfillian, assistant director.

Personal contact with admitted students will be important over the next few weeks. Members of UAC, UMRP, HFAI, and HFGP, the admissions and financial aid staff, teaching faculty, and alumni will write, email, telephone, and meet with admitted students.

“This year’s record applicant pool appears to have resulted in part from the Harvard College Connection (HCC), our newest recruitment program, designed to interface with both specific and more general audiences. The work of the HCC has been enhanced greatly by the addition of our new website, online videos, and various social media activities,” said Fitzsimmons. “Fifty-two percent of our applicants noted that our website was one of the ways they learned about Harvard, and 36 percent mentioned email/social media.”

To give admitted students the opportunity to experience Harvard life and meet future professors and classmates, a visiting program is scheduled for April 25-27. The program, known as Visitas, enables guests to sample classes, attend faculty panel discussions, concerts, receptions, department open houses, symposia, and events organized by extracurricular groups. More than 1,400 admitted students are expected to visit during April and 1,200 during Visitas.

“Students admitted to Harvard have their choice of the world’s best colleges. Meeting faculty and future classmates can be a key component of making the right college choice,” said Visitas Director Timothy Smith. “We have found that many students decide to attend Harvard based on their Visitas experience.” Smith is assisted in this multifaceted program by Brown, Dikkers, Gilfillian, Ray, and Williams.

“Our loyal 15,000 alumni volunteers are the face of Harvard in communities around the world,” said Brock Walsh, co-director of the Alumni Network for Schools and Scholarship committees. “Their interviews are more important than ever as we make our admissions decisions. They are essential to our recruiting as they visit schools, call newly admitted students, and host gatherings for them in April.” Added Caroline Weaver, co-director, “They spend countless hours helping us assemble our class, and their loyalty is evident as they do whatever is needed to help us year after year.”

Donahue and her financial aid colleagues will be available to speak with admitted students and their families on weekdays from April 1 until May 1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT, and on April 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during Visitas.

“We welcome students and parents, including families who may not have applied for financial aid but who are interested in the wide range of available payment options,” she said. “Our program offers assistance to all students and families, ranging from full financial aid to a number of financing alternatives.”

Admitted students have until May 1 to accept their offers of admission.