Tuesday, November 30

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Updated: U. accepts 15.4 percent of early action applicants

The University offered admission to 770 students from a pool of 5,003 applicants through the single-choice early action program for the Class of 2021, according to Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye. This represents a 15.4 percent admission rate, compared with an 18.6 percent admission rate from 2015.

This represents the largest application pool the University has received in the last six years, an 18.3 percent increase over last year's round of early applicants and a 45 percent increase from six years ago.

Admitted students represent 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 45 countries. The pool of students who were admitted early last year represented 33 countries. The percentage of international students remains the same as last year at 11 percent.

According to Rapelye, one notable aspect of the most recently admitted pool is its gender balance — 50 percent of accepted students are men and 50 percent are women. Rapelye noted that her team is delighted to see this distribution, which the University has approximated in previous years.

Furthermore, 43 percent of most recently admitted students are U.S. students from diverse backgrounds. Rapelye also noted that 105, or 14 percent of admitted students, are eligible for Pell Grants. This represents an increase from the 13 percent of early admitted students who were eligible for the grant from last year’s pool.

Rapelye also noted that 20 percent of admitted students indicate an interest in enrolling in the B.S.E. program. More notably, 45 percent of potential B.S.E. candidates are women, she said.

Rapelye attributed the increase in the applicant pool to continued outreach to lower-income communities, a new handbook about the University for potential applicants, and the University’s grant-based financial aid program.

To recruit to low-income students, Rapelye and others in the admission office traveled throughout the country and across the world, she said. A staff member in the admission office has traveled to Africa for outreach earlier this year while others, in keeping with annual traditions, had flown to parts of Asia and Europe, including former satellite nations of the Soviet Union.

Rapelye noted that her team also established and enhanced ties with community organizations such as Questbridge, College Greenlight, and the Fulfillment Fund that work specifically with low-income students to garner their attention.

“My philosophy is that we can’t expect students to come to us if we don’t go to them,” Rapelye said.

According to Rapelye, the admission office also released a new viewbook for prospective students that features a new design and expanded explanations of aspects of the University, such as its financial aid program. The themes and contents for the book were built on research conducted three years ago about messages that speak the most to students, Rapelye said.

When asked about whether the repeal of grade deflation played a role in the increased applicant pool, Rapelye said that the effects of this policy change are more noticeable in the University’s yield rates.

“We certainly saw a difference in the conversation we had [with students] at Princeton Preview. When students are making the decision about whether to come here, they realize that [grade deflation] is not the conversation point anymore,” she said.

Rapelye also noted that questions about political activism on campus as well as the University’s political atmosphere were, like in past years, part of the conversation with prospective students in this application cycle.

Applicants were mailed a notification letter from the University's admission office on Dec. 15, and all applicants are able to view their decision through a secure online access.

Rapelye noted that the majority of applicants were deferred, and a portion of students were rejected. For students who are deferred, Rapelye noted that their applications will be granted another full read in the context of the regular decision applicant pool. She noted that applicants who were deferred will be required to send in their senior year midterm grades. Additionally, she encouraged them to update the admission office about any relevant accomplishments they had.

“We’re always looking for reasons to admit students and we always go into the process with that mindset. Our challenge is that there’s a finite number of beds,” Rapelye said.

She noted that target class size for next year is 1,308 students.

“We are thrilled to have this admitted group, and we look forward to reading the applications of the next group of students and get ready to admit the Class of 2021,” Rapelye said.