The Stanford Office of Admission received a record-high 30,349 applications for the Class of 2013, representing a 20 percent increase from last year’s cycle.
Although applications to universities across the country were expected to rise this application season, the number of students competing for a spot in Stanford’s next freshman class is the largest in the University’s history, said Director of Admission Shawn Abbott in an email to The Daily.
A University press release published earlier this month noted that 25,000 students were expected to apply by the regular decision deadline.
“The overall response to our outreach was clearly positive if you look at application numbers alone,” Abbott said. “My hunch, however, is that Stanford’s new financial aid policies were the likely cause of such a surge in applications.”
Brown, Harvard, Duke and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also saw applicant pools increase by more than 10 percent from last year. According to a Bloomberg article, students are embracing the ease of a common form by submitting applications to more universities than in the past.
Stanford became a user of the Common Application site in 2006, though applicants are also required to submit a supplemental application form.
Ari Andersen, a senior at Malibu High School in Southern California, applied to Stanford via regular decision in addition to nine other schools. He said applying to at least 10 colleges was normal for students in his senior class, but applying to various institutions for fear of not getting in is not a big issue.
“I applied to some University of California schools I wouldn’t necessarily have applied to if it wasn’t for their financial aid programs,” Andersen said. “I applied regular decision [to all schools] because I wanted to keep my options open.”
Andersen speculated that the Stanford application seems more appealing because of its availability and the range of questions asked, including “questions about regular life.”
“The application process is repetitive, but [Stanford’s] application takes the whole student into account,” he said.
In addition to Stanford’s streamlined financial aid program, an updated outreach program including a pilot interview process in six cities was implemented this admission year. Abbott said it is “too early to tell” what the impact of the optional interview process will be, but that this and other outreach programs will be reevaluated in the spring.
Although the applicant pool has increased substantially this season, Abbott said even fewer students would be offered a spot in next year’s freshman class in an effort to avoid over-enrolling, as the admission office did the past two years.
“We will be very conservative with our admission offers this year because we cannot over-enroll the freshman class this year,” Abbott said. “We expect to admit fewer students than we did last year.”
“If we are under our enrollment target we will admit students from the wait list,” the admission director added.