Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Early action apps up four percent at Stanford for Class of 2014


This year, 5,583 students applied to Stanford University during the restrictive early action round, representing an approximate four percent increase from the previous year.

This number is expected to climb higher as the Office of Undergraduate Admission receives the last of its international applications.

“A few students abroad–where Internet access is spotty–were given permission to apply using a paper application,” explained Director of Admission Shawn Abbott in an e-mail to The Daily. To accommodate for the delay of snail mail, the University allowed these applications to trickle in after the Nov. 1 restrictive early action deadline.

While early applicants may feel the relief of accomplishing a colossal task, the Office of Undergraduate Admission is just gearing up for its busiest period–the office started reading applications last week.

Abbott acknowledged that the greatest challenge for admission officers is the fact that they can only accept 1,700 or so hopefuls for next year’s freshman class, and a consequently smaller number of early applicants.

“As a result, we’re charged with making extraordinarily fine distinctions between perfectly capable, deserving and desirable candidates,” Abbott said. “There simply isn’t enough space in each year’s entering class to admit all of the students we want to admit.

“Processing nearly a quarter of a million credentials–associated with an expected 30,000 or so applications–is a close second, in terms of the challenges that we face,” he added.

At Stanford, the restrictive early action round is intended for students who have decided that Stanford is their first choice. These students will receive their admission decision by mid-December, when they will be admitted, rejected or deferred to the regular decisions round.

Regardless of the deadline differences, Abbott insists the early action and regular decision options share the same standards for assessing applicants.

“As we read applications for admission, readers are guided by several ideas, most notably academic achievement, intellectual vitality, extracurricular impact and the notion of understanding a student’s life circumstances within his or her individual context,” Abbott said.

Furthermore, since restrictive early action is a non-binding option, admitted students will have until May 15 to respond to the University’s offer of admission. This flexibility is especially important as prospective freshmen review financial aid packages from various universities.

Much to the dismay of Stanford hopefuls and admissions officers alike, the application process is not without pitfalls. Last year, almost 1,000 students completed their applications electronically and paid their application fees, but ultimately failed to submit these materials by the deadline. Their applications were not considered.

In an effort to curtail a repeat of this mishap, Abbott cautioned this year’s crop of early applicants to turn in their applications well in advance of the deadline.

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