Record number apply early

by Lauren Budd | 11/3/14 7:52pm

A record-high number of people — 1,856 — applied early decision to Dartmouth this year. The number of early applicants is more than 10 percent higher than last year’s figure, initially reported as 1,678 applicants.

As of press time, no other Ivy League college had released early admissions data.

Average standardized test scores, class ranks and racial and geographic makeup for the Class of 2019 early decision applicant pool are currently unavailable because admissions officers have not yet fully processed secondary school reports, dean of admissions and financial aid Maria Laskaris said, but she noted that this marks the first time in two years that more women than men applied early decision.

Laskaris said the higher early decision application numbers likely resulted from recruiting road trips and connections that prospective applicants make on campus visits.

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The record number of early applicants follows a 14-percent drop in regular decision applications for the Class of 2018 as well as a high yield among last year’s regular decision accepted students.

The Class of 2016 set the previous early decision record, with 1,801 early decision applicants. That year, 465 were admitted.

Each year, students admitted early decision comprise about 40 percent of the incoming class. Early application decisions will be released in December.

Though last year’s Common Application was a source of technical issues for early applicants — leading Dartmouth to extend its early decision deadline by a week — administrators and applicants reported a smooth submission process.

For the first time this year, admissions officers will review early decision applications using software called Slate that streamlines the evaluation process, Laskaris said. Slate compiles different elements of the application, like essays and teacher recommendations, in a central online location to improve officers’ reading efficiency.

The office has implemented Slate gradually since the summer, Laskaris said. The platform can be used for intra-office communications.

Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs, director of admission at Claremont McKenna College, said that her office was among the first to adopt Slate. Before Slate, there was no software customized specifically for admissions offices, Sandoval-Dancs said. Instead, admissions officers adapted programs intended to store current student information.

Since it was implemented in 2009, the service has been user-friendly and accessible, she said, adding that the software allows schools to customize its functions to suit their needs.

Dartmouth altered this year’s application to allow students to choose from five questions for a supplementary essay, compared to previous years, when all applicants answered the same question. Laskaris said this change was made to gain greater insight into each applicant.

Kylie McCardel, an early decision applicant who attends Baylor School in Tennessee, said a campus visit solidified her decision not just to apply to Dartmouth, but to apply early.

“I had never felt more at home at a college campus,” McCardel said, adding that she was impressed by the student body, language opportunities, living learning communities and her tour guides.

The potential benefits of attending Dartmouth outweighed any apprehensions she may have had in light of recent campus controversies, McCardel said.

Annie Goettemoeller of Ohio, who also applied early decision, said her experiences in the Summer at Brown and Yale Young Global Scholars summer programs made her realize that she wanted what she called the “Ivy league experience” — intellectual rigor combined with a diverse, collaborative atmosphere. Dartmouth’s undergraduate research opportunities in the sciences also appealed to her, she said.

Experiences during her visit, including a Dartmouth Sings performance, Goettemoeller said, clinched her decision to apply early.

“When you love something that much,” she said, “I don’t know why you wouldn’t jump on it as fast as you can.”