Yield sees marginal drop to 48.5 percent

by Axel Hufford | 5/5/13 10:00pm

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by Dennis Ng and Dennis Ng / The Dartmouth

The College extended offers to 2,252 students earlier this spring. The yield decreased slightly from last year, when 49.5 percent 1,080 of 2,180 students accepted admission offers by May 1. 1,098 students matriculated to the Class of 2016 last fall.

The Admissions Office plans on enrolling between 1,120 and 1,125 students for the Class of 2017, and the College will likely admit between 40 and 50 students from the roughly 1,000-person waitlist to achieve this target.

"The current yield is very close to where I thought it would be," Laskaris said. "It is always better to come around a little bit under and use our waitlist to get to our desired class size."

Among the students expected to matriculate next year, 50.3 percent are women and 49.7 percent are men, while 37 percent are students of color and 9 percent are international students. Approximately 46 percent are financial aid scholarship recipients, marking a 2 percentage point increase from last year.

The Admissions Office expects more students to accept offers in the coming weeks. Between 10 and 12 students have been offered an extended decision deadline to complete financial aid paperwork, Laskaris said.

Six other students have been given an extended deadline because they were unable to attend Dimensions due to a storm that led to flight cancellations. These students were flown to Dartmouth to attend a "mini-Dimensions" last weekend, Laskaris said.

In the past decade, the admissions yield has consistently remained at roughly 50 percent, ranging from 48 percent in 2009 to 52 percent in 2010, according to the Dartmouth Fact Book. In the same period, the number of applicants has doubled to 22,416 students in 2013 from 11,855 in 2003, while the admit rate has dropped to 10 percent this year from 18 percent in 2003.

Of this year's accepted students, 464 students were admitted through early decision, representing 42 percent of the total class. The percentage of early decision applicants in the student body has increased since 2007. While early decision applicants represented 33 percent of the Class of 2011, 41 percent of the Class of 2016 was admitted under early decision.

Throughout April, admissions used on and off-campus tactics to encourage accepted students to matriculate, including a phone-a-thon, email campaigns, social networking, reach-outs from alumni and weekly videos.

Dimensions weekend, a staple event for prospective students, featured an activities fair, forums and academic showcases.

The weekend culminated in the Dimensions show, which was interrupted by a dozen protesters who made allegations of racism, homophobia and sexual assault on campus in front of hundreds of prospective students.

The following Wednesday, Dartmouth suspended classes for a day to address what administrators referred to as rape and death threats against the protesters, sparking national media attention from outlets including the Associated Press, Bloomberg and USA Today.

The Admissions Office recently sent out an email to all accepted students informing them about why classes were canceled and what activities were taking place that day, and offered the students the opportunity to ask any questions about the campus. Only a handful of students and parents called to learn more about the "teach-in" events, Laskaris said.

James Goldszer '17, who was accepted early, said he mainly learned about the Dimensions protest through the Facebook class page, not the national media.

"A few students may choose not to go to Dartmouth, but I don't think the protest changed enough people's minds to have a significant impact," he said. "From my perspective, the problems highlighted are issues at all colleges across the United States, not specifically Dartmouth."

Hannah Nash '17, a regular decision applicant, said she looked upon the aftermath of the protests and response from Dartmouth community members positively.

"Though I have talked to a few prospies who were freaked out, most were concerned not so much by what the protesters were yelling, but by the animosity between the protesters and the Dimensions crew," she said. "During and after Dimensions, so many students were compassionate and willing to talk about their experiences with me. This school means so much to students."

Laskaris said she does not know how the protest and its aftermath impacted the yield. An admitted student questionnaire issued in late May will give information about how students made their decisions.

"Bottom line, this is a very strong, diverse and talented group and I'm really excited about the Class of 2017," Laskaris said. "They are well on their way to being the best class ever."

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