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January 27, 2012

College applications jump 16 percent to record high

The College received a record high 25,271 applications this year, a 16.1-percent increase from last year’s numbers. The percent increase was one of the biggest in the country and the largest in the University’s peer group.

Applications to the College have increased by 85.8 percent in the three years since James Nondorf took over as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid in 2009. University spokesperson Jeremy Manier said that it was “pretty clear” the admissions rate would fall this year, but he expects the yield rate—the number of students accepted who choose to matriculate—to increase.

Only Grinnell College (52.07 percent), Ramapo College of New Jersey (29.63 percent), the University of California, Los Angeles (17.98 percent), the University of Virginia (17.64 percent), and the University of California, Berkeley (16.52 percent) saw higher percentage increases in application volume than did the U of C, according to data on The New York Times’s “The Choice” college admissions blog. Of those schools, the University of Virginia, as well as UC–Berkeley and UCLA received more total applications than the U of C.

According to “The Choice,” the U of C received fewer total applications than most peer schools, including Stanford (36,744), Harvard (34,285), Northwestern (32,016), Columbia (31,818), and Yale (28,622). However, the University did receive more applications than Dartmouth College (23,052) and Johns Hopkins University (19,400).

This fall, the College received a record high of 8,698 early action applications, a 25-percent increase from the previous year. Harvard and Princeton both reinstated early admissions policies this application cycle, a move that Manier said did not affect the number of applicants here significantly but may result in an increased yield for the College. The wider range of early admission options, Manier said, could mean that students for whom the U of C was not their top choice would apply elsewhere, while those who did apply to the College were more likely to accept an offer of admission.

The diversity of applicants also continued to increase, Manier said. One-fifth of this year’s applications came from outside the United States, with the greatest number of applications coming from China, followed by Canada, India, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

“Part of the whole culture of the U of C is that it’s a very welcome environment with people of diverse ideas,” Manier said. “Diversity of backgrounds helps bring in diversity of thought.”

Domestically, the College saw the greatest number of applications from California, followed by Illinois, New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Michigan. Manier said that the distribution of applicants followed national population distributions but was also evidence of an increased awareness of the University.

“It’s less and less the case that students outside of Illinois are not hearing about the University of Chicago,” he said.

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