The College’s early decision applicant pool decreased by 12.5 percent from last year, dropping to 1,574 applications for the Class of 2017, while the number of students offered admission remained stable at 464 students, according to Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris. The College also offered admission to a greater number of minority students, with Latino students comprising the largest increase among minority groups, she said.
Laskaris said she would not speculate about the decline in the early decision applicant pool without conducting polls of students who decided to apply to colleges other than Dartmouth. She said the reasons for the decline will become evident when the admission cycle for the Class of 2017 is completed.
“Once we complete the cycle, we will have a chance to do some follow-up and understand our year in a broader context,” Laskaris said.
Some have speculated that the decrease was due to an increased awareness about hazing at the College, which may have deterred potential applicants from applying.
Dartmouth’s decrease in early decision applications is concurrent with increases in the applicant pools of other Ivy League universities. Harvard University and Princeton University, which reinstated their early admission programs last year, experienced application increases of 14.9 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Other Ivy League institutions also saw increasing applicant pools, with applications to Yale University rising by 4.4 percent, Brown University by 3 percent, University of Pennsylvania by 5.6 percent and Columbia University by 1.3 percent. Cornell University has not yet released its early decision numbers.
Students who were offered admission to the College will comprise about 40 percent of the class, which is projected to include between 1,100 and 1,120 students, Laskaris said. The College deferred 550 students to the regular decision applicant pool and denied admission to nearly 500 students.
Among the students accepted in the early decision pool, 26 percent are students of color, an increase of 2 percent from the previous year, Laskaris said.
“Great time and energy goes into developing a recruitment plan and really thinking about continuing to reach out to students across the country and around the world from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences who we think have the potential not only to be successful students but also to contribute meaningfully to the community,” she said.
The largest increase in minority admissions was among Latino students, who have made up between 7 and 8 percent of entering classes since 2007, according to the annual Dartmouth College Fact Book released by the Office of Institutional Research.
The acceptance rate for international students remained stable from last year at 8 percent, though this was 3 percent higher than the international student early decision acceptance rate for the Class of 2015, Laskaris said.
Despite declining acceptance rates at high-level institutions and increasing costs of higher education that are prohibitive for many American students, Laskaris said that the College highly values a diversity of citizenship.
“We believe firmly that a diverse student body is one of our most important educational resources,” Laskaris said. “We also see ourselves as an institution that is really preparing students for life of leadership and impact in a truly global society.”
While Language Study Abroad programs and Foreign Study Programs provide international experiences for many students at the College, Laskaris said that education with a global focus requires an international student body that adds to the “breadth and diversity” of the Dartmouth community.
Nearly 30 percent of students accepted early are athletes, according to Laskaris. Every year the College’s coaching staff works with Athletic Director Harry Sheehy and Deputy Director of Athletics Bob Ceplikas to determine the number of students they will support during the early decision process, according to Laskaris. The rate of athletes' acceptance has remained stable for the last several years.
Students admitted under early decision this year will matriculate from 354 high schools, with 49 percent from public high schools, 46 percent from private and independent high schools and 5 percent from parochial schools. Among students whose schools provide rankings, 35 percent are ranked first in their class and 86 percent are ranked in the top 10 percent of their class.
The mean SAT score of admitted students is 2141, which is slightly lower than last year’s average of 2146 and the Class of 2015’s average of 2144.
Despite a decrease in the early admission pool, Laskaris said applications received for regular decision are tracking at higher numbers than the same time last year.
“The regular process is always more competitive than the early process,” she said. “But in terms of the overarching goals and values of our selection process, we continue to look for students who have demonstrated achievements as well as tangible impact and contribution in this wide array of backgrounds and perspectives.”
Students accepted in the early decision pool must confirm their spot in the Class of 2017 by Dec. 21. http://thedartmouth.com/2012/11/13/news/earlydecision