Early decision admittances decline from last year

by Jay Webster | 12/17/10 8:57pm

After discussions last year to increase the size of the Class of 2014, Dartmouth offered early acceptance to only 444 students 17 fewer than last year for the Class of 2015, according to a College press release.

"For the Class of 2015, we're aiming for roughly 1,090 to 1,100 matriculants, which is where we had been for several years prior to the Class of 2014," Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris said in an interview. "We took fewer students in early decision."

The overall size of the Class of 2014 was larger than in previous years in an effort to increase revenue for the College in a year of extensive budget cuts, The Dartmouth previously reported.

In spite of this year's decrease in early acceptances, the number of overall applicants increased from 1,594 to 1,759 a 12-percent increase, according to the press release. The spike in applications caused the rate of students accepted under the early decision program to fall to 25 percent, down from last year's rate of 29 percent.

The mean SAT score declined from 2150 last year to 2144 this year, according to the release, although Laskaris said the six-point change is "not a significant difference."

"This year's mean SAT composite is very similar to last year's and is also the second- highest mean composite score of any group admitted in early decision," she said, adding that "decisions are not driven by testing."

Among the schools that provided the College with class ranking, 25 percent of accepted early applicants are ranked first in their classes, while 87 percent are in the top 10 percent of their classes, according to Laskaris.

Approximately 7 percent of the students admitted came from schools outside the United States, which is "similar to last year," she said.Students of color represent about 22 percent of the accepted students, Laskaris said, a decrease of 4 percentage points from last year.

"Although the results are slightly different from last year, the students admitted early decision to the Class of 2015 comprise one of the two or three most diverse groups we've ever had," according to Laskaris.

The admissions staff has devised "new and personal ways" to reach out to prospective students, which may have contributed to the increase in applications, according to Laskaris. These include "social media, on-campus programming and off-campus travel," Laskaris said.

Dartmouth's financial aid policy is another attractive feature that may have led to the increase in applications, according to Laskaris.

"A commitment to need-blind admissions and meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need continues to be vitally important to prospective students and their families," she said.

Three members of the early decision group were accepted through QuestBridge, an organization that assists talented low-income students in going to college, according to the press release.

Another student was accepted through the Iraqi Student Project, which enables Iraqi students to continue their education in the U.S. while the war continues in Iraq, according to the press release.

Regular decision applications for the Class of 2015 are due on Jan. 1.