College admits 1,146 students

The Admissions Office reports that Williams has accepted less students this

year than it traditionally does, but may have a slightly larger incoming

freshman class than normal. Recent trends in the world of college

admissions clarifies this slightly illogical prediction.Director of

Admissions Tom Parker said 1,146 students have been notified of their

acceptance at Williams for the 1997-98 academic, marking a decrease from

the 1,300 students accepted last year This year’s accepted class

includes 576 women and 570 men.Parker said the Admissions Office reduced

the number of accepted students in order to keep the admissions process

“supersafe” for the College.He explained that several Ivy League

schools’ acceptances of high percentages of their students through early

decision or early action plans and rejection of high percentages of

students under the regular decision plan last year led to a six percent

increase from the previous year in the percentage of accepted students

matriculating at Williams. Parker added the unexpectedly large Class of

2000 has sparked the College’s effort to avoid a crunch in housing this

year.Parker said if 38 percent of admitted students attend Williams this

year, together with the 194 students or 34 percent of the class already

attending from the Early Decision plan, the College will achieve the

desired class size of 545 students. However, he anticipates that the

yield from the accepted students will not be this high, and the

Admissions Office will turn to the waiting list. “We do like to use the

waiting list,” Parker said. “We weren’t able to last year.” Parker said

800 students received a chance for a spot on the waiting list, and

estimated that 350 will take advantage of the opportunity. Of those 350

students, Parker said he anticipates that between 25 and 40 will be

offered admission at Williams.A freshman class size of 545 students is

slightly larger than normal, but Dean of Admissions Phil Smith said the

overall size of the student body will not increase.”We are expecting to

admit a slightly larger first-year class this September and fewer

transfer students,” Smith said. “But the size of the College will remain

the same. It makes more sense to us to take as many first-year

applicants as we can since the applicant pool for first-year students is

such a powerful one.”Smith said Williams plans to accept 15 transfer

students, down from the 20 to 25 acceptances of previous years, out of

the approximately 200 who apply. Smith described this “modest

readjustment” as a response to a stronger pool of first-year than

transfer applicants.”It’s generally true of the last three or four years

that the strength of the transfer pool has not been overpowering,” Smith

said. “That doesn’t mean that there aren’t very good transfers in the

pool and that there aren’t good transfer students here. I don’t mean to

send the signal that we are unhappy with transfers here.”He added that

transfers students are also a more volatile pool because they often

decide not to leave their schools, whereas first-year applicants must go

to some school.A decrease in the number of applicants accompanied the

decline in the number of accepted students this year. Associate Director

for Operations in the Admissions Office Connie Sheehy said a total of

4538 students applied to Williams this year. Last year a little more

than 5000 students applied. However, most of the Ivy League schools

experienced this drop as well.When asked if the decrease in the number

of students who applied to Williams will result in a weaker class,

Parker responded with an emphatic “No.” He said the opposite is true:

the applicant pool for the Class of 2001 has been one of the strongest

groups ever. In terms of the students who were accepted, Parker said he

is particularly excited about the rise in the number of “absolutely

spectacular” artists. He attributed the increase to the exceptional art

facilities and faculty which Williams has to offer.Sheehy said 352 of

the students who have been accepted are minorities. She said the

Admissions Office anticipates that 32 percent of the class of 2001 will

be minority students. This is a jump of 12 percent from last year, with

the increase spread across races and ethnicities.Smith said the

Admissions Office tried to put more energy into the recruitment of

minority students, such as Assistant Director of Admissions C.J. Jones’

efforts — and success — in doubling the number of minority students

flown in for Preview Days to 60. Smith attributed part of the increased

recruitment to the increasing portion of high school graduates who are

minority students and part of the recruitment to the increased strength

of the pool of minority applicants. Although Smith said he would not

know the final percentage of minority students in the Class of 2001

until May 1, he said students who visited Williams had a higher yield

than those who had never seen the campus.