A Late-Breaking Update on Admission Decisions
March 26, 2010
Admission decisions will, in fact, be released sometime after 3pm (Pacific Time) today, March 26, six days ahead of schedule.
The Office of Undergraduate Admission has completed its evaluation and selection process earlier than expected and to alleviate anxiety among our applicants and their families, we will release all admission decisions sometime today after 3pm. All decisions will be sent via email from Richard Shaw, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, and will not be available on any Stanford website. Students who are admitted will also be mailed a formal offer letter of admission today as well. To avoid sending disappointing news twice, we will not mail paper copies of decisions to students who are not offered admission, unless specifically requested to do so.
Of the 32,022 applications received, a total of 2300 students (7.2%) will be admitted. An additional 998 students (approximately 3% of our applicant pool) will be offered a space on our waitlist. Regrettably, we cannot consider any letters or calls of appeal whatsoever. All admission decisions are final and we never alter any admission decision once it has been rendered.
As I mentioned in my March 19 update, we were humbled by this year's admission process and we have great respect for those students who have applied for admission. We wish all of our candidates the best and know that they will all have a wonderful collegiate experience.
Please be aware that the Office of Undergraduate Admission will close today at 3pm to complete the mailing process. We will re-open Monday at 8:30am.
Shawn L. AbbottDirector of Admission
Following the release of admission decisions last Friday, 2,300 applicants will have the opportunity to call themselves members of the Stanford Class of 2014 this coming fall.
Over the last several years, record numbers have marked Stanford’s admission season. The University has again set a record by accepting only 7.2 percent of this year’s applicant pool out of more than 32,000 students.
The number of applicants also jumped from the approximate 30,000 applications received for the Class of 2013. Stanford admitted 2,427 students in 2009, including 127 applicants from the waitlist.
An anticipated 20 transfer students will also be accepted this year and 998 students were waitlisted.
The number of early action applicants rose 3.8 percent to 5,566 applicants, and the projected size of next year’s freshman class is around 1,700 students.
Admission decisions were released six days ahead of schedule to “alleviate anxiety,” according to Director of Admission Shawn Abbott. Just three percent of applicants were given a spot on the waitlist. Abbott said that dropping to a 7.2 percent admit rate makes “admission more competitive than ever before.”
To deal with the rise in applications, reading was divided between 24 admission officers and part-time hours were raised to 30 hours per week from 20. According to Abbott, the online system greatly expedited the processing of applications, meaning that applications could be read immediately after the submission deadline.
“We still move through each application the same way, reading all parts and providing a thorough, holistic review,” wrote Abbott in an e-mail to The Daily in February. “Every application is still read by a human being and there is no pre-screening done for any part of the applicant pool.”
Harvard, Princeton and the University of Chicago also saw a rise in applicant numbers, with Princeton seeing a 19-percent increase from just last year. These universities will release their admission decisions on April 1st.
The nationwide influx is largely attributed to lower acceptance rates driving students to apply to more schools to better their odds of acceptance. Last year, Stanford was ranked the third most selective university in the nation behind Harvard and Yale, both of which also accepted seven percent of applicants last year.
Spencer Nelson, one of 753 students accepted from the early action pool in December, accepted his admission offer last week. Initially he planned on applying to Dartmouth early, but said that Stanford’s early action program, which is non-binding and a much shorter wait, was “much more attractive.”
“It was awful waiting to hear,” he said. “I would walk around thinking, ‘Five more days, five more days.’”
And when the early action decisions were released ahead of schedule, Nelson said, “it was a great relief.”
“Waiting to hear the decision was like walking on hot coals,” he said. “And I was pretty sure that if I got in I would want to go.”
“I imagine that for the kids who didn’t get in, hearing before the promised date would have been awful, but waiting really sucks,” Nelson said.
Accepted students have until May 1 to accept or reject their offer.
While some applicants to Stanford got word Saturday of their admission to the Farm, others had already received a subtle nod via a “likely letter”–a practice common to several of America’s elite colleges. Of Stanford’s approximate 32,000 applicants this year, less than one percent of the pool received such a letter, according to Director of Admission Shawn Abbott.
What purpose do likely letters serve? Abbott said they are to notify students “who have truly exceptional academic, artistic or athletic talent” of the likelihood of their admission.
“We send likely letters to recruit the most exceptional candidates from around the world,” Abbott wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “Notifying candidates that they are likely for admission enables us to identify and alert Stanford faculty, coaches, artists and advisors who will then reach out to these internationally accomplished students and encourage them to consider Stanford among their many college options.”
However, the letters only hint at acceptance; Abbott said they do not contain formal admission decisions, which were released Saturday for regular-decision applicants.
Citing concerns of “fueling anxiety,” the Office of Admission declined to comment on what a likely letter contains, but students who have received likely letters said the letters hinted they had gotten in without explicitly saying so.
“It hinted at it enough so that I got a sense that I had gotten in,” said Chris Brunson ’12. “I didn’t celebrate too much, though, because it wasn’t an official letter. And when I got the official letter, I wasn’t as surprised as other people were.”
As a National Merit Scholar and National Achievement Scholar from South Carolina, Brunson received several offers of admission from top colleges. Among his accomplishments were a 4.9 weighted GPA, a “pretty high” SAT score, research on multiple sclerosis and “a buttload of tutoring.”
When Brunson applied for colleges, he threw Stanford onto his list only because of parental pressure.
“I was just like, it’s Stanford, life is cool,” Brunson said. “But when I got [the likely letter], I then really majorly considered Stanford.”
“It was like, hey, maybe colleges do want me,” he added. “I didn’t know how good of a reputation Stanford had until I received the letter and [learned] more about it.”
Brunson also received likely letters from Brown and Washington University in St. Louis. However, he said Stanford’s was “more promising” than the others.
“It’s like, you still need to maintain your grades and stuff,” he said. “But Stanford’s actually made me feel like I had actually gotten in. The other ones seem like they were still on the fence but leaning toward one side and Stanford’s seemed like it was already over the fence.”
Before making his final decision prior to May 1, he narrowed his choices down to two–Stanford and Columbia. His ultimate decision was Stanford.
“Columbia didn’t send me a likely letter,” he said. “So I started considering Stanford more than Columbia.”
Though the Office of Admission did not release information about which applicants receive likely letters, Brunson believes that geographical diversity contributed to his acceptance.
“The fact that Stanford doesn’t usually choose people from my state probably helped,” he said. “Stanford wants to show that it’s got people from everywhere.”
Smitha Ramakrishna also received a likely letter from Stanford. According to Ramakrishna, the likely letter made her “consider Stanford much more seriously” before ultimately deciding on Harvard.
“It definitely made me consider Stanford more since they gave me such a personal invitation to join the school,” she said.
Ramakrishna also received likely letters from Duke University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, along with regular admission offers from Harvard and Yale.
“All of these likely letters were very similar,” she said. “But Stanford’s did seem more personal due to the handwritten note they attached.”
“It’s very personal,” she added. “For me, it quoted my application.”
A native of Chandler, Ariz., she believes she received likely letters because of some of her accomplishments. As a founder of a nonprofit organization and activist for clean water access in India, she was named a 2009 Coca-Cola Scholar, an AXA Achievement Scholar and Intel Science Talent Search Finalist.
Likely letters only form one part of the appeal to admits, however, and other aspects can make the difference. Ramakrishna finally decided on Harvard because of her Admit Weekend experiences.
“I think the visiting weekends and people I met there really made the difference in the end,” she said.