A week after the Nov. 1 application deadline, Dean of Admission Jim Miller '73 said that he expects the final number of early decision applicants to the class of 2015 to be just over 2,765, a drop of 70 to 80 applications from last year.
The slight decrease in applications, however, is not indicative of a broader trend in admissions, Miller said. "When considering a pool of roughly 30,000, 70 to 80 less is not a big deal one way or another," he said.
He added that it was also important to realize that the number of early decision applications last year represented a 20 percent increase over the previous years.
While admissions officers sometimes worry about changes in the applicant pool from year to year, this fall's pool has been "virtually identical" to last year's, Miller said. The proportion of international applicants remained constant at about 11 percent and the fraction of total students applying to the University's eight-year Program in Liberal Medical Education remained at 12 percent, a consistency that Miller called "fascinating."
Miller added that overall, this cycle's pool "looks to be very strong and very deep."
One preliminary trend Miller has observed is "an interesting uptick in the physical sciences and applied math." But he added that the increase was "nothing dramatic."
In any other year, the Office of Admission would have been flooded with thousands of pages of paper applications, but following a transition to an electronic system this summer, all applications are being read and evaluated on computers. Miller said the change would not affect students at all, noting that almost all students in last year's cycle submitted electronic versions of their applications.
The new method will also avoid the potential issue of not having enough space to store the huge number of files expected once regular decision applications come in. Last spring, The Herald reported that administrators had to open a satellite office in Alumnae Hall to accommodate the 30,136 applications for the class of 2014.
Though the admissions office intends to ultimately enroll a class of about 1,500, Miller said it was not possible to say how many of those students would come from the early pool.
"We don't know yet. We'll have to see," he said. "It will be a function of the quality of applications."