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The University has offered admission to 726 students out of a pool of 3,443 candidates for the Class of 2016, or 21 percent, through its new single-choice early action program. Decisions for early action admissions were released online Thursday afternoon.

These students are expected to make up between 31 and 36 percent of the total number of applicants who will be admitted to the incoming freshman class.

The admitted students represent 30 countries, 42 states and the District of Columbia. Ten percent are international students, and 37 percent are American students from diverse backgrounds.

An equal percentage of men and women were accepted. Thirteen percent of the early action admits are sons and daughters of University alumni, 10 percent are the first members of their families to attend college and 56 percent currently attend public schools.

On their applications, 23 percent of the admitted students indicated they want to study engineering.

“I was certainly very pleased with the size of the pool and the fact that … the pool was so deep and broad,” Dean of Admissions Janet Rapelye said. “I was very pleased that we had students applying from so many corners of the world.”

Of the admitted students, 64 percent applied for financial aid.

“That said to me that the pool was deep enough so that students were getting the message about our financial aid,” Rapelye said. The University’s financial aid program runs on a “no-loan” policy, which means that students who qualify for financial aid receive grants that do not need to be repaid.

The University’s early action program restricts applicants to applying early only to Princeton and not to other early programs. The students are not, however, required to accept the University’s offer of admission should they get in and only need to decide whether to matriculate at the end of the regular admission process in the spring.

The last time the University offered an early application option for prospective students was in 2006.

When it was announced earlier this year that the early action admission program would be reinstated, critics voiced concerns that the decision would disadvantage low-income students and underrepresented minorities. Rapelye noted, however, that she feels the admission committee has made progress in admitting a diverse class.

“It’s not necessarily just percentage but sheer numbers that I think we’ve made progress on,” she said.

Since the last round of early decision applications in 2006, the numbers of students of color and from public high schools in the admitted class have both increased by 6 percent, and the male-to-female ratio has evened out from a 2 percent imbalance in favor of men.

“We never have target groups, and we never have quotas, but we went into a recruitment process this year knowing that we were going to have early action and making every effort to encourage students to apply if this was their first choice,” Rapelye said. “They wanted to have an early indication, and they’d have a lot of choice on their side, so I think it has something do with the recruitment.”

She noted that student background was heavily considered in the decision-making process.

“We were looking to make sure that we had a group that looked a lot like what we had done last year in terms of building a multicultural community,” Rapelye explained. “And I think we’re really pleased with the results.”

The Office of Admission will consider these admitted students when examining the regular applicant pool.

“I think we will go into the process with a very open mind in terms of trying to put together the very best Class of 2016,” Rapelye said. “I honestly have no idea how big the pool is going to be this year; it’s very difficult to predict the size of the pool, and given that we just started an early action program, there’s not even a way for me to track how many applications we had on today’s date versus last year’s date.”

Meanwhile, 1,921 applications were deferred to the regular applicant pool, and the admission committee will reexamine them in the spring.

“I was hoping that we would have quality in this group, and we absolutely have that,” Rapelye said. “The vast majority of kids who applied early were excellent students, and it was challenging because we couldn’t accept all of them.”

The University offered early action admission from 1980 to 1996 and then instated early decision admission until 2006.

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