Brown received about 4.5 percent fewer early decision applications for the class of 2013. It received 2,343 applications, slightly down from the 2,453 early applications for last year's class, Dean of Admission Jim Miller '73 said.
Miller attributed the small decrease to a drop in the number of applications for the Program in Liberal Medical Education. "PLME is down by about 80 applications," he said, though he added that he did not know the cause of the drop.
Sally Rubenstone, senior adviser at College Confidential, a Web site dedicated to providing information about the college admissions process, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald that she predicted the number of applications for early decision would decrease while the number of students applying with early action would greatly increase because of the recent economic crisis.
"Middle class students … may favor Early Action over Early Decision in order to be able to compare financial aid offers in the spring," Rubenstone wrote.
The number of early applications to Brown has stayed fairly consistent in spite of the economy's downturn, which Miller said might be due to the new financial aid policies the University adopted last February, which relieved the loan burden on some families.
The class of 2013 is the first to use the common application in applying to Brown, but Miller said the only effect it seemed to have had on early decision applications was that applicants were submitting their paperwork closer to the deadline. More applicants also submitted their applications online than ever before.
"Ninety-eight percent of (early) applicants applied online, up 10 percent from last year," Miller said.
Applicants to the class of 2013 face a demographic challenge. This year's group of high school seniors is likely one of the largest groups applying to college in history, according to a Sept. 13 New York Times article. Rubenstone said the rumor that a lot of people would be applying might have adverse affects for applicants and colleges.
"When the word gets out that a huge number of seniors will be heading off to college, with it comes the fear that extra seniors means fewer college slots. To compensate, many students file more applications … which wreaks havoc in admissions offices because 'yield' statistics from past admissions cycles may not be reliable," she wrote.
Fifty-two more students than were expected enrolled for the class of 2012 this past fall, but despite that, Miller said the admission office would not make it a point to admit fewer students to compensate for prior overenrollment.
"Our expectation is that we'll have a normal sized freshman class of about 1,485," he said.
He also reiterated the current state of uncertainty in the admissions office.
Though admissions hasn't seen much of a change, Miller said any change in the number of applicants will be seen after the regular decision deadline.
"We're in a wait-and-see mode," he said. "We don't know how applications and enrollments will be affected."
This story was originally published by Brown Daily Herald