The University has admitted a record-low 9.25 percent of the 21,369 applicants who sought admission to the Class of 2012. Only 1,976 members of the largest applicant pool in history were offered admission in the first admissions cycle without early-decision applications.
The target size for the new class is around 1,245 students, making it roughly equal in size to the Class of 2011. The acceptance rate for that class was 9.5 percent.
“The fact that we had both a large applicant pool and a stronger applicant pool was quite a reassurance that it was a good decision for us to switch to the new [one-deadline] process,” Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said. “This group is just an amazingly powerful one in terms of academic credentials.”
Princeton’s admissions statistics mirrored trends at Harvard and Yale.
This year, Harvard admitted 1,948 students of a pool of 27,462 for an all-time low acceptance rate of 7.1 percent. This was also Harvard’s first year with a single-deadline application process. Yale’s admit rate fell to 8.3 percent, with 1,892 students accepted of a total of 22,813 early-action and regular-decision candidates.
In this year’s applicant pool, about 7,000 students had a cumulative 4.0 GPA and roughly 11,000 had a combined score of 2100 or higher on the SAT. Rapelye noted that many of these applicants had taken four, five or six Advanced Placement (AP) classes before their senior year and performed at a very high level on their AP exams.
This was the first time in recent years that the male-to-female ratio of admitted students was even, matching the gender distribution of the applicant pool.
“I think our biggest surprise was that by switching to single decision, the applicant pool helped balance itself out,” Rapelye said. Last year, exactly 1,000 more males than females applied to the University, and of the admitted students, 53 percent were men.
This is the first admitted class with near gender balance among the 369 students intending to enroll in the engineering school. Last year, only 40 percent of the students accepted to the school were female.
Of all the admitted applicants, 44.8 percent are students of color.
Applicants to the Class of 2012 hailed from 48 states and 137 countries, and international students comprise 10.2 percent of the admitted class, down from 10.6 percent last year.
Some of the countries represented in the admitted class are Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine and Uruguay.
“We certainly have seen a wide array of countries represented,” Rapelye said. “I think the internet has made it much easier for international students to learn about schools in the United States.”
International students matriculating in the fall will be required to participate in either the Community Action or Outdoor Action freshman orientation programs if they also wish to attend international student pre-orientation, a change from years past in which no orientation program was mandatory. Just more than 50 percent of the admitted students for the incoming class have received financial aid offers. Princeton offers “no-loan” policy for students qualifying for aid.
Though few students have been taken off the waitlist in past years, the elimination of Early Decision makes it harder to predict this year’s yield and thus how many waitlisted individuals may be accepted later.
“We have actually been quite conservative in the number of admits we sent out,” Rapelye said. “While it is our hope that we will be able to use the waitlist, we will have no idea how many we can take until at least May 1.” All admitted students must respond to the University’s admission offer by no later than that date.
The waitlist has typically been as large as 1,200 students, but this year it is slightly larger in anticipation of a potential change in yield under the new process.
Since the decisions were released Monday evening, some accepted students have wasted no time. As of Tuesday evening, the University had already heard back from 69 students who have committed to matriculating in the fall.