High school students across the globe anxiously checked their emails on Friday evening, hopeful to become early admits to Stanford’s Class of 2021. Some gained the anticipated acceptance, others a deferment and others the dreaded rejection. In a break with recent tradition, however, the early admission statistics will not be released at this time.
In a brief email to The Daily, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Richard Shaw wrote that the release of early admissions data in the last several years had been “exceptional.”
“Our policy is to release data at end of cycle,” Shaw wrote. “We have returned to our standard approach in communicating about the Class.”
Stanford had released the number of early acceptances, deferrals and rejections from the restricted early applicant pool in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010. According to vice president for communications Lisa Lapin, these were not formal releases of data.
“We don’t do press releases on early action and never have,” wrote Lapin in an email. “The Daily has asked and sometimes they have been provided to The Daily.”
Stanford News did, however, release a brief on early admissions data for the Class of 2020 last year, as well as for the early admits to the classes of 2019, 2018 and 2017. Stanford’s previous release of early admissions numbers has been in line with that of peer institutions. Princeton, Yale and Harvard have all released their early applicant results in recent Decembers. In past years, Stanford has stood out with the lowest early admissions rate even among these institutions.
The move comes at a time when the University has been criticized for a lack of transparency in other areas such as the handling of sexual assault cases and the recent change in alcohol policy.
In response to a follow-up email from The Daily asking about the reasoning behind the apparent change, Shaw emphasized that the University does not view this as a policy change and will release the Class of 2021 data when all candidates have been notified.
In an interview last spring with the Washington Post, however, Shaw indicated that he doesn’t find low admissions rates to be something to brag about.
“[Releasing the percentages] just diverts everybody’s attention from the fact that we took 2,000-plus kids that are magnificent,” Shaw told the Washington Post. “My feeling is, what’s the difference between 7 percent and 4 percent?”