Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dartmouth sees rise in the number of early decision applications for Class of 2014

Dartmouth received more than 1,600 early decision applications for the Class of 2014 — a record high — and 3 percent more than it received last year, according to Dean of Admissions Maria Laskaris. The number of early applicants for the Class of 2013 rose 13 percent from the previous year.

“In terms of high school students out there applying to college, last year represented a peak of baby boomers,” Laskaris said. “Families this year could also be saying, ‘Let’s wait, let’s hold off and get a range of financial aid offers before making a decision.’”

The College will accept approximately one-third of the incoming class, about 400 students, through the early decision program, Laskaris said.

Dartmouth also received a record number of early decision applications from international students, which Laskaris attributed to the appointment of College President Jim Yong Kim and Dartmouth’s need-blind financial aid policy for international students, which was announced in January 2008.

“President Kim’s appointment received a great deal of media attention in Asia, and specifically Korea,” Laskaris said. “Also, we are one of a handful of our peer institutions that are need-blind for our students — including our international students.”

Laskaris emphasized that all prospective students, not just international students, were enthusiastic about Kim’s appointment.

“Prospective students and their families are aware of the appointment and what it means for the community,” she said. “There was a great deal of excitement in President Kim’s work in global health, in social issues. This is very impactful for prospective students who think about their goals and aspirations in life.”

There was also a 5-percent increase in the number of students of color who applied early decision.

Approximately 50 percent of early decision applicants indicated that they will apply for financial aid, Laskaris said. This represents a 2-percent decrease from last year.

“It’s very close,” she said. “It’s essentially the same number. And since we haven’t done all the processing, that number could change.”

The admissions office did not receive any complaints about Dartmouth’s application system, and prospective students did not seem to be confused about the switch to an electronic application, Laskaris said.

“I don’t think students were at all put off by the fact that we didn’t have a paper application,” Laskaris said. “There were a lot of ways students could access the forms.”

For the first time, the admissions office hosted a video chat on Oct. 30 addressing students’ questions about the application process.

“We typically have a lot of calls and e-mails before the deadline, and since the deadline was on a Sunday, we decided to host a video chat on Friday afternoon,” Laskaris said. “We wanted to be accessible. It was something new that we tried, but we had a great response to that.”

Admissions officers will begin to read applications on Nov. 10.

“The core of our mission is to select the next class,” she said. “We’re eager to get going.”

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