Early decision cycle sees increase in applications

by Mary Winters | 1/4/19 3:10am

Henry Mans ’23 wanted to go to college in a small town connected to nature. A recently-accepted student from Edina, Minnesota, Mans said that Dartmouth was his first choice school because of its size, location and academic strength.

“It was big for me to be in a more rural place,” he said. “If I decide I want to be in a city, I have the rest of my life to do that, but it’s harder to live in a rural place later in life.”

On Dec. 13, Dartmouth admitted 574 members into the Class of 2023 through early decision, up from 565 last year. This year there was a record 2,474 applicants, 23.2 percent of whom were accepted. This was a nine percent increase in the number of applicants compared to last year.

The accepted students will make up approximately 48 percent of the Class of 2023. The group of newly admitted students includes 138 recruited athletes and 25 students who applied through QuestBridge, a platform which connects low-income students with institutions of higher education. Additionally, 119 of the accepted students are projected to be valedictorians or salutatorians of their high school class.

The admissions office expects a 96 percent yield among students accepted through early decision, meaning they will occupy about 550 of the projected 1,150 seats in the Class of 2023. The Class of 2022 matriculated 1,166 students, down from 1,279 in the Class of 2021.

Vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid Lee Coffin said that a few factors likely contributed to the increase in applicants this year.

“It’s … my third year now, so my leadership of [the admissions office] is more in place,” Coffin said. “This cycle that we’re in is the first one where a lot of the new initiatives [such as outreach highlighting excellence in teaching] that I introduced a couple years ago have been fully implemented.”

Coffin added that a web redesign probably contributed to the increase in applications.

“That’s been generating a lot of traffic, and we’re seeing students following along and saying, ‘I like these people I’m meeting at Dartmouth,’ and so that’s been exciting to see as well,” he said.

Additionally, the admissions office has expanded its geographic outreach to include schools in a wider range of regions, Coffin said.

Coffin himself traveled to Norway, which ultimately provided two early decision admits from Norway.

“You never see [early decision] admits from Norway,” he said. “So that’s been another dimension in this process. It’s becoming more pluralized in a lot of different ways.”

The Class of 2023 is also more diverse than previous classes, according to Coffin.

Coffin said that a decade or two ago a much larger portion of applicants came from the Northeast, had attended private schools and had come from affluent families, but that the applications are becoming much more diverse in terms of economic status.

Coffin said that MyinTuition, a new net price calculator adopted last year which allows applicants to estimate the cost of one year at Dartmouth, probably allowed for a more socioeconomically diverse pool of applicants.

“It gives families a really simple, clear way of saying, ‘Based on these personal factors, this is what Dartmouth, in this interpretation, would likely give me by way of a scholarship,’” he said. “It’s giving people more confidence to say, ‘This is my first choice and I don’t need to be worried about the financial aid dynamic.’”

The increased socioeconomic diversity of the new class can also be seen in the high number of students who will likely be eligible for Pell Grants. Thirteen percent of the 574 accepted students are projected to be eligible for Pell Grants, which is a record for the early decision round at Dartmouth.

Isabelle Kitchel ’23, an accepted student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said she chose Dartmouth because of the wide range of activities and programs the school offers.

“I chose Dartmouth because of the variety of programs that I could pursue such as the terms abroad in Lyon or Toulouse, the [Tuck] Bridge Program and activities on campus like the [Dartmouth] Outing Club,” Kitchel said.

She is also looking forward to the flexibility offered by the D-Plan.

“Nowhere else other than Dartmouth could I do all of these things and still have the space and resources to discover more,” Kitchel said.

Abigail Johnson ’23, an accepted student from Andover, Massachusetts, said the undergraduate focus, supportive community and location of Dartmouth appealed to her.

“I do not know what I want to major in, so I wanted a school where I could easily explore many subject areas and connect with professors,” Johnson said.

Outside of academics, Johnson said she is looking forward to enjoying the outdoors and the traditions Dartmouth offers.

“I also love to hike and be outside, so the location and the DOC were big factors as well,” she said.