ED applications reach record numbers

The College received a record-breaking number of Early Decision (ED) applications this fall, and admission officers say the number may still be on the rise. To date, the Office of Admission has processed 577 ED applications to the Class of 2012, an increase of 9 percent from last year’s 531. This jump is due in large part to the 94 international applicants, compared to 59 international students in last year’s early applicant pool.

Though the official deadline was Nov. 10, Dick Nesbitt, director of admission, said the College expects to receive additional additionalmore ED applications from international students and students affiliated with the QuestBridge scholarship program in the coming weeks. Nesbitt estimated that these applicants could bring the increase to nearly 11 percent above last year’s total. Previously, the Class of 2008 held the highest number of Early Decision applications, with 559.

Three-hundred and five women and 272 men make up the Class of 2012’s ED group, a total that includes 13 African Americans, 24 Latino Americans and 35 Asian Americans. Although these numbers represent fewer minority applicants than last year, Nesbitt said he expects the diversity of the pool to increase with the applications from the QuestBridge students.

ED applicants made up roughly 40 percent of the Class of 2011, and Nesbitt hopes that a similar or smaller percentage of 2012 students will be taken from the ED pool. Admissions expects to mail decisions by Dec. 13th.

Several events have changed the landscape of admission decisions this year. According to Nesbitt, the elimination of early admissions programs at Harvard and Princeton is expected to affect the College’s admissions process. Students who in years past would have been accepted early to these schools may now send applications to the College in the Regular Decision (RD) group.

Nesbitt acknowledged the possibility of a significant number of these students turning down admission to the College in favor of either Harvard or Princeton, noting that admissions may need to raise the number of students it accepts via RD to meet the intended yield of 535 to 540 students.

Supposing that students who would have previously only applied to one or both of those schools through Early Admission will also send applications to the College in the Regular Decision group, admissions may need to raise the number of Regular Decision acceptances to meet the intended yield of students.

“We might be seeing those students in our pool in the spring when they have been off the market in previous years,” Nesbitt said. “The Class of 2012 will be a highly qualified, exceptional group of students.”

Other changes around campus are likely to affect application and admission numbers. Nesbitt said the decision to do away with loans in financial aid packages will probably draw more middle income students to apply. In addition, the completion of the Paresky Center has been a compelling addition to campus tours and hosting ESPN’s “College GameDay” at Homecoming also may have made thehelped raise the school’s visibility.

Applications were due on Nov. 10 for Early Decision candidates, and the College is still using the Common Application. Nesbitt anticipated that there may be some changes to next year’s admission process, mostly due to the Common Application adding an online resource that will allow students to send more than just the application electronically. Several schools with large application pools, such as Yale, have already moved to reviewing applications exclusively via computer.

“We are going to need to consider that option as the number of applications goes up, the number of electronic applications goes up, and more parts of the application can be submitted electronically,” Nesbitt said. “And of course we need to consider saving paper.”

Presently, Admissions reviews only hard copies of all applications and utilizes printouts of online segments.

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