U. sees 19 percent jump in applicants to Class of 2014
The University announced on Friday that it received a record 26,166 applications for the Class of 2014, a 19 percent increase from last year.
"We were not expecting a 19 percent increase. That was quite shocking to us," Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian. She added that possible factors contributing to the rise in applications may include the University's switch to using only the Common Application with the Princeton Supplement and its decision to allow students to submit only their best standardized test scores.
The University’s 3 percent increase in applications last year from the previous year was lower than increases reported in the past. There were 6 percent more applications to the Class of 2012 than to the Class of 2011 and 8 percent more applications to that class than to the Class of 2010.
"We have been very concerned about making the door open for low-income students to apply," Rapelye said. "We went from requiring three SAT subject tests to two subject tests because many students do not get the college counseling early enough in the process to prepare for many Subject tests. We have made concerted efforts to travel and reach out to students of various backgrounds. We also placed emphasis on reaching out to students beginning in junior year, which is relatively new for us."
Earlier this week, both Harvard and Brown announced they had received more than 30,000 applications for their freshmen classes next fall. Harvard’s applicant pool grew by 5 percent this year, while Brown saw a 20 percent increase over last year.
"I don’t necessarily see this as an arms race, trying to get the most students," Rapelye said of the growth in the number of applicants seen by other schools. "Right now, students are very attracted to urban areas. While Princeton is in a very nice area as well, not all high school seniors may feel that way."
The number of Princeton applicants who said they would also apply for financial aid dropped to 74 percent from 75 percent last year. The University's financial aid budget is projected to grow to $113 million next year, up from the current $103 million.
"Not all of the students that applied for aid will get aid, but it appears that students are hearing now about our financial aid policy," Rapelye said. "That students are taking that seriously is a good sign."
The Class of 2014 will be the second freshman class admitted since the University increased the size of each incoming class to 1,300 students.
"I think that we are looking for a class of approximately 1,300, but this is the first year we’ve had a steady state," Rapelye said of her office's target size for the Class of 2014. "We are no longer trying to enlarge the freshman class, so we’re not anticipating large changes, but we haven’t set the figure yet."
Last April, Princeton admitted 2,150 of 21,964 applicants to the Class of 2013.
That 9.79 percent acceptance rate was higher than those in each of the last two years. In spring 2008, the University admitted a record-low 9.25 percent of the 21,369 applicants who sought spots in the Class of 2012. In 2007, the University accepted 9.5 percent of those who applied to the Class of 2011.
Because of incorrect information provided by the University, an earlier version of this article stated that 90 percent of applicants said they intended to apply for financial aid.