Early applications up four percent from '99
Dartmouth saw two significant increases in the College's early decision pool, with the overall number of applicants and the number of students of color rising four percent and 20 percent respectively from last year's totals, according to Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg.
Approximately 1,130 early decision applications have been received thus far for the Class of 2005, though Furstenberg anticipates this preliminary total to rise slightly. "It's sort of like the situation in Florida," he joked. "The applications continue to dribble in."
Furstenberg was especially pleased with the number of applications submitted by students of color, which rose from last year's total of 98 to 120. He credits the increase in the number of on-campus visitation programs for these students as the largest contributor to the gain.
While the gender make-up of the early applicant pool for the Class of 2005 stands at 55 percent male and 45 percent female, Furstenberg said he is not concerned about the imbalance.
Furstenberg attributed this disparity to the fact that a number of Ivy League schools are accepting more recruited athletes early, the majority of which are male. Because Ivies do not offer athletic scholarships, early acceptance is used as "one of the points of leverage" to attract athletes, according to Furstenberg. He expects the percentages to balance out when regular applications are tallied.
The geographic distribution of the College's early decision pool is currently not available.
The mean SAT scores for early applicants are 676 for verbal and 688 for math. Furstenberg noted that the scores are very preliminary and anticipates the numbers to rise when tests taken in November are factored.
The number of students admitted early will remain around 400, approximately 35 percent of the entering class, according to Furstenberg, who said he is hesitant to accept a large number of students under early decision.
"The regular pool is very strong," he said. "The more students you take early, the more you tie your hands with regular admissions."
While the rate of admissions in early programs are higher then the percentage of students taken from the regular pool, Furstenberg said, "We would not accept students early who we would not accept regular."
According to Furstenberg, applicants are evaluated on a "very individualized basis." He added, "Each student who applies is competing against all the other students."
Students accepted under the early decision plan are required to matriculate.
A number of other Ivies saw an increase in early applications. The Yale Daily News reported a 15 percent increase in the number of students applying to Yale under early decision. The pool of 1,725 early applicants is the largest in the history of that university.
The University of Pennsylvania received 2,833 early decision applications, up 10.4 percent from last year, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Furstenberg is not surprised by these figures. "All the top colleges are doing a lot more in the way of recruiting," he said.
Dartmouth enhanced its recruiting initiative by sending representatives of the College to 915 high schools, up from 485 last year.
Furstenberg denies that Dartmouth's move from 11th to ninth in the latest U.S. News and World Report college rankings played a role in increasing the number of early applicants.
As the economy continues to thrive and the number of high school students continues to increase, Furstenberg said he anticipates a steady rise in the number of applicants to Dartmouth and other highly regarded schools.