Under the Early Decision (ED) plan, 248 students were offered admission to the College on Dec. 14, 2012. These students will be joining the Class of 2017 in the fall and will make up 45 percent of the projected class size of 550. The acceptances mark a slight increase from last year’s offer of 239 spots to the Class of 2016.
“We’re very pleased,” Director of Admissions Dick Nesbitt said, “We admitted a slightly larger percentage of the class [of 2017] early, but a lot of that was due to the diversity we were able to generate in this group.”
ED applications increased by eight percent this year, with 613 students applying compared to last year’s 566 applicants.
Over the years, the admissions office has seen quite an increase in the number of students applying ED. To compare, in 2004 the office expected only between 375 and 475 ED applications.
“The number of Early Decision applications has fluctuated between 550 and 650 over the last six years,” Nesbitt said. The actual number is not as important as the strength of this year’s class, he added. “The number is up, but it’s more important that the quality of the applications is very good. That’s what was most pleasing.”
The group is composed of 118 men and 130 women representing 217 different high schools both nationally and internationally. The U.S. state with the highest representation is New York, which 38 of the accepted students call home. This is a change from last year’s class, for whom the most represented state was Massachusetts. Other highly represented states include New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, and Washington. Eleven international students were accepted from Bangladesh, Canada, China, Kenya, Korea, Pakistan and Turkey.
“The number of international students has ranged between eight and 14 in the past, so this is right in the middle of that,” Nesbitt said. “What’s especially pleasing about the Early Decision pool was the quality of underrepresented students,” Nesbitt said, “Twenty-nine percent of the Early Decision group was American students of color, which is by far the most we’ve ever had.”
In comparison, last year’s group was made up of 23 percent students of color. Twenty-eight percent of these students identify as African-Americans, 22 as Asian-Americans, 21 as Latinos and one as Native American.
Twenty-one students will be first generation students. This too is a slight increase from the Class of 2016, in which 19 first-generation students were accepted ED, and an even greater increase from the 15 first-generation students accepted ED to the Class of 2015. A further nine students were accepted through the QuestBridge program.
These students are matched from high ability, low income, underrepresented background, and apply through QuestBridge. They are not counted in the pool of ED applicants.
“This is the most diverse Early Decision group that we’ve ever had,” Nesbitt noted.
Academically speaking, the ED admits demonstrated impressive standardized test scores. The group attained average SAT scores of 711 critical reading, 706 math and 724 writing.
“The knock on Early Decision is that it’s not as diverse a group as the Regular Decision pool, but because of the successful Windows on Williams programs in the fall, a lot of students converted to Early Decision applicants,” Nesbitt said.