ED acceptance rate falls four points

Out of a final pool of 600 early decision (ED) applicants, the College has offered admission to 223 students. This represents a 12 percent increase in ED applicants, resulting in a four-point drop from last year’s 37 percent acceptance rate.

Changes in admission procedures at several other selective schools may have contributed to the higher numbers this year. According to Dick Nesbitt, director of admissions, the canceling of both Princeton’s and Harvard’s early admissions process this year may have potentially directed competitive students to Williams. The College’s recent decision to restructure its financial aid policy by replacing loans with grants may have also aided in increasing applicant numbers.

Over 90 percent of the applicants are currently in the top decile of their high school class. The admission office gave 33 students top ratings in music, theater or studio art. The average SAT scores for early admitted students is 711 in math, 706 in writing and 710 in critical reading.

Of the accepted students, 114 were women, and 109 were men. These include two Native Americans, 17 Asian Americans, 12 African Americans, 15 Latino Americans and 13 international students from countries ranging from Albania to the United Arab Emirates.

This first part of the Class of 2012 also represents greater socioeconomic diversity, with 43 students being one of the first members of their family to go to college. This is more than twice the number of students identified as first-generation college students from last year. Legacy acceptances have decreased from 47 to 32 students, reflecting numbers from two years ago.

The deadline for regular decision applications was Jan. 1. So far, regular decision applications are up to over 7,200 candidates, up 11 percent from last year’s 6,500. The admission office has hired 15 students to help sort through the massive of amount of mail. “It would be one thing if the applications came in one piece, but they never do,” Nesbitt said.

Given their outstanding qualifications, Nesbitt anticipates that predicting potential yield from the approximately 1,000 applicants accepted in the spring may be difficult. Still, he says he is confident that the Class of 2012, like all previous years, will be an outstanding group of students.

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