Though the total is still being tallied, the number of Early Decision I (ED I) applications appears to be up from last year.
As of yesterday, the Office of Admissions reported that they had received a total of 506 applications. Judging from this initial volume, Interim Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn projected a five percent increase in total ED I applications, totaling somewhere between 520 and 525—though the numbers are still moving as many applications are pending completion.
The deadline for ED I applications was Sunday, November 15.
As of November 21 of last year, the College had received 480 ED I applications.
Meiklejohn said that from glancing over the incoming files, he gathered that the statistics of this year's ED I applications "look very similar to last year," but was unable to provide specifics given that many are still being processed.
Roughly 200 of 500 students in the Class of 2013—40.7 percent—were selected through both rounds of early decision. Meiklejohn said there is "no target" number the Office of Admissions aims to achieve.
Admissions officers will read applications starting this week and continue to do so until December 3, when the Early Decision Committee will convene to start making decisions.
Meiklejohn said of the early decision process that the Office of Admissions "admits students who we know we would love to take regardless of when they apply."
The deadlines for Early Decision II (ED II) and Regular Decision applications are January 1, by which time more specific data on the early decision process will be available.
Meiklejohn said the admissions staff is "very happy" with the projected increase, and that "the College has been trying for a while now to make people all over the country know how great Bowdoin is."
The deadline for ED I applications follows what is always the most active season for the Office of Admissions in terms of encouraging student interest in the College. During the fall, the staff spends most of its time visiting high schools and promoting Bowdoin all over the country.
"For admissions staff, September and October is all planes, trains and automobiles," said Meiklejohn.
The Office of Admissions makes huge efforts to arrange for both prospective students and high school guidance counselors to visit Bowdoin. This year events such as Maine Day, during which prospective students from Maine spend a day on campus, and the Invitational Weekend for multicultural students have helped to promote interest in Bowdoin among students of various backgrounds.
Bowdoin also participates in the Colby-Bowdoin-Bates tour, which allows 40 high school guidance counselors to tour all three schools.
While it is hard to project the impact of the economic downturn on the total number of applications, according to Meiklejohn, the Office of Admissions has "taken special efforts this fall to show people that Bowdoin is affordable." These efforts included a letter in October that specifically addressed the College's affordability and financial aid options.
The total number of applications for the Class of 2013 was down only by 93 from the previous year, which out of 6,000 total applications was not considered a notable decrease.
As information regarding this year's number of early decision applications continues to roll in, the Office of Admissions will be able to more accurately gauge the College's progress over the past year and make projections for the composition of the incoming Class of 2014.