Dartmouth has received a record 18,500 applications for the Class of 2014 so far this year, an increase of 4 percent from this time last year, according to Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris.
College administrators are currently deciding whether to increase the size of the incoming first-year class, which will ultimately determine the overall acceptance rate, Laskaris said.
“Right now, we’re looking at an 11-to-12 percent rate of admission,” she said. “If we didn’t increase the size of the class, the process would become more selective than it’s been [in the past].”
Dartmouth admitted 461 students early decision this year — 60 more than last year, The Dartmouth reported in December.
While the ultimate number of new students is still undecided, Laskaris said that the final size of the incoming class could increase by between 50 to 100 students compared to last year.
Complete statistics on the number of applications received were not compiled by the Admissions Office by press time, as the office is expecting to process another 400 to 600 applications this month, Laskaris said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.
Although the student body has generally grown during Laskaris’ time in the Admissions Office, no increases have been of the magnitude discussed for this year, she said.
“There’s been some fluctuation up and down, but that’s been more due to the yield on our offers of admission,” she said in an interview.
An increase in the size of the student body would not affect the quality of student life at the College, according to Laskaris.
“I don’t think extra students would diminish the Dartmouth experience, because from my perspective we have such a strong and talented applicant pool,” she said. “Those students would add to the quality of the experience of everyone.”
If the College increases the size of the incoming first-year class, the Admissions Office will likely continue to accept a higher number of students in the future, Laskaris said.
“I think it wouldn’t just be for one year,” she said. “The decision would be to increase the size of the student body more long-term.”
During public discussions of the budget last month, College President Jim Yong Kim and Dean of the Faculty and acting Provost Carol Folt said they might look to increase the size of the student body as a way of increasing revenue to the College, The Dartmouth previously reported. Kim said the increase would not be made without extensive campus discussion.
An increase in the size of the incoming first-year class would increase revenue to Dartmouth, she said, but the College would also need to expend more resources for financial aid.
“What I don’t know is what the size of that offset would be,” she said.
The availability of financial-aid packages would not be affected by an increase in the incoming class size, according to Laskaris.
“Our commitment is to meet the full demonstrated need [of each student],” she said. “Obviously as the size of the student body grows, our commitment to financial aid grows.”
While numbers will not be available until next month when financial-aid applications are due, Laskaris said more applicants will likely apply for assistance than in the past.
“My sense is that we will continue to see increasing numbers of students who apply for financial aid,” she said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.
The College’s overall applicant pool was not significantly affected by the current economic climate, Laskaris said in the interview, citing the fact that Dartmouth received a record number of applications this year.
“I do think it may have had an impact on some students’ decisions in terms of the number of schools they would apply to,” she said, adding that Dartmouth’s financial-aid program and the Dartmouth experience continue to make the College an “attractive option.”
The applicant pool shows more diversity than in previous years, Laskaris said in the e-mail.
“We continue to see increasing diversity in the applicant pool, both in terms of students of color and international students,” she said. “In particular, this year the number of Asian-American applicants has increased by about 10 percent.”
Two-thirds of the applicant pool is composed of students who attend public schools, while one-quarter of applicants come from private schools and 8 percent attend parochial schools, she said in the e-mail. The Mid-Atlantic United States is the most represented region, she said, with 22 percent of applicants originating from those states.
There are more women than men in this year’s pool — 52 percent females — continuing a trend seen over the last few years, Laskaris said in the e-mail. The average applicant’s combined SAT score is about 20 points higher this year than it was last year, she said.
Dartmouth is not the only Ivy League institution seeing an increase in applications. The Brown University Dean of Admission reported a 20 percent increase in early applicants for the school’s Class of 2014, as reported in the Brown Daily Herald, although other Ivy Leage institutions have not yet published numbers. Most of Dartmouth’s peer institutions are still processing applications, Laskaris said.