This past Friday, the Office of Admissions offered admission to 792 students, or 12.3 percent of regular decision applicants. In total, 1,021 students were accepted to the College, resulting in an overall acceptance rate of 14.5 percent. Both figures are records, down from last year when 13.8 percent of regular decision and 16.1 percent of total applicants were accepted.
The College received an all-time high of 7,052 applicants this year, an increase from last year’s 6,716, which was the previous record.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn attributes the increase to the fact that Bowdoin is becoming more well-known.
“Each year I’ve been asked about why applications are going up, that’s the first thing I say,” he said. “I think the College is getting better and better known as a really fantastic place. We play a role in helping people understand how great the College is.”
The admissions office is aiming for 500 students to fill the class of 2017, Meiklejohn said.
“We have done a lot of calculations about class size and used as much information as we have available to us to calculate how many offers of admission we should make to get the class size that we want,” said Meiklejohn. “It’s always a little bit of science and a little bit of art.”
Meiklejohn expects to come in slightly below the target size and intends to accept students off the waitlist. That was also the plan last year, when yield was higher than anticipated. Consequently, students could not be admitted from the waitlist.
This year was the first that admissions decisions were released online rather than in letters delivered to applicant’s homes.
According to Whitney Soule, director of admissions, the change was implemented to increase delivery reliability. All accepted students were also sent a formal admission letter signed by Dean Meiklejohn.
As in recent years, applications this year were down in the northeast and up in the west. This year also marked an increase in international students applying to the College.
One of Meiklejohn’s favorite statistics is the number of high schools represented in the applicant pool. This year, applicants came from 3,184 schools, marking a 4% increase over last year.
The admissions office is enthusiastic about the incoming class.
“We are really excited about them. [There are] lots of great applicants who are the kind of people we want to have here,” Meiklejohn said.
Admissions statistics from Colby and Bates have not yet been made public and are expected to be released next week.
Admitted students have the option of attending an on campus open house April 18-20 and two online chats, according to the Admissions website. They have until May 1 to make their decisions.