U. admits record 7.29 percent
A record low of 7.29 percent — or 1,931 of the applicants — were admitted to the University for the Class of 2017 on March 28. An analysis of admission statistics released by the Office of Admission between 2003 and 2013 reveals the increasing selectivity of the University’s admission process, which is largely in line with the falling admissions rates at other Ivy League institutions.
Over the past decade, the University’s admission rate has dropped from 9.9 percent in 2003 to 7.29 percent in 2013. This 26.3 percent decrease in admittance has accompanied a 68 percent increase in the number of applicants.
For the Class of 2017, 10,629 of the 26,498 applicants — or over 40 percent — had 4.0 grade point averages. Of those who were admitted, 97 percent are from the top decile of their class, among high schools that rank.
About half of the admitted students identify themselves as people of color, including biracial and multiracial students, and about 11.4 percent are international students from over 140 countries.
Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian last week that one of the Office of Admission’s goals for each incoming class is to achieve diversity.
“We’re always building a multicultural community of talents and a diversity of backgrounds and interests,” she said.
About 61 percent of the admitted students attended public schools, and 13.9 percent will be the first in their families to attend college. Additionally, 9.7 percent of the admitted applicants are children of alumni.
About a quarter of the admitted students applied as prospective engineering students, 47.5 percent of whom were women. This ratio almost matches the 49.8 percent of women accepted in the overall class.
Rapelye explained that the record number of female engineering students resulted from the University’s desire to achieve a relative balance in genders.
“The challenge we face is a national one,” she said. “There are many more men and many fewer women who want to study engineering, so we pay particular attention to those women who do say they want to study engineering.”
Michele Hernandez, a college consultant from Hernandez College Consulting, a private college counseling service, said she believes that the first goal of college admissions at Ivy League schools is to select the highest scoring students and then to look for points of differentiation.
“Having high scores or high grades don’t guarantee that you get in, but having lower scores or a lower GPA will guarantee that you won’t get in,” she said. “As a minimum, you need to have high scores and high grades. Then everything else comes from subjective things, like if you have any hooks,” such as a particular talent or an interesting background, she explained.
The early admission rate this year was 18.3 percent, and the regular admission rate was 5.44 percent. Moreover, 1,395 applicants were placed on the wait list.
Hernandez said she predicts that the record-low admission rates of Ivy League institutions over the past several years will have bottomed out and will remain relatively stable for the foreseeable future. She said these low rates reflect a growing number of applicants for a relatively constant class size.
However, Dave Berry, a senior advisor at College Confidential, said the rates might in fact rise in the next few years if the applicant pool shrinks.
“The number of applicants may indeed go down this coming year because of the tremendous discouragement that [students] see with a five or seven percent admissions rate,” he said.
More reasonable acceptance rates, Hernandez said, would result if all the Ivies had early decision policies instead of the single-choice early action round that Princeton, Harvard and Yale offer.
“If it were really all about fairness, all the schools would have early decision and say that they’re only taking 25 or 30 percent of their class in the early round,” she said. “That way, people who really wanted to go to Princeton would apply to Princeton, people who want Harvard would apply to Harvard. Then they would be removed from the pool when they got in, and the regular decision would still have 70 percent of their spots open.”
She said that in her view, if rejected or deferred from single-choice early action, a large number of strong applicants would reduce their admission odds during regular decision because many early decision schools would have filled up much of their classes.
Admitted students will be able to visit the University during one of the two Princeton Previews, which will be held Thursday, April 11 to Saturday, April 13 and Monday, April 22 to Wednesday, April 24. They must then respond to the offer of admission by May 1.
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