Record high number of minorities accepted

by Andrew Allport | 4/6/99 5:00am

Despite the commotion over the small number of African-American students admitted via the early decision process, the Class of 2003's regular admissions are of a different stripe entirely, with the highest percentage of minorities ever admitted.

The number of students admitted to the Class of 2003 comprised a record 35 percent minority students -- including 297 Asian Americans, 192 Latinos, 177 African-Americans, and 60 Native Americans, as well as 9 multiracial students. There were 110 Dartmouth legacies admitted, and the students represent 1,392 different high schools.

"We worked awfully hard," Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Karl Furstenberg said of the Admissions Office's efforts to bring an increase in minorities to the College.

The Class of 2003 also boasted an increase in the average SAT scores, and 90.8 percent of the admitted students graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

Out of the 10,261 students who applied for admission, 20.6 percent were accepted -- nearly one percentage point lower than last year, according to Furstenberg.

He said the College has made efforts to increase personal contact with prospective students through interviews, so that each student's individual questions are answered. Too often in the past, he said, the only contact students have with the College is when they send away for an application.

All in all, he said, "this is the most competitive year in a very long time."

Of course, this is only the first look at the '03s. The makeup of the class can change drastically from the time the College accepts and the students decide.

"We made them wait, now they make us wait," Furstenburg said, adding that he expected about 50 percent of the students admitted to accept. Unfortunately, he said, many of the most qualified students choose to attend other schools.

"They're lured, inappropriately I think, by status and prestige," he said.

Furstenburg attributed the spike in minority acceptance -- and overall applications -- to a variety of factors, including more active recruitment and a retooled financial aid policy. Forty percent of the class is receiving financial aid with an average scholarship of $18,250.