The January 1 deadline for both Early Decision II (ED II) and regular decision yielded 6,010 applications: a 1 percent rise over last year's 5,939 applications.

Marked rises in applications from southwestern and western states are good signs for the Office of Admissions, revealing that their efforts to publicize Bowdoin in those regions of the U.S. are paying off. Diversity amongst the applications was also on the rise as 1,265 students of color applied to Bowdoin, an all-time high that continues to build upon last year's record number.

Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn said that perhaps the most important figure to pay attention to is the total number of high schools nationwide that send at least one applicant to Bowdoin. This year, 2,706 high schools are represented in the applicant pool, almost one hundred more than last year's 2,617. That, Meiklejohn said, "is a very good sign," reflecting the increasing awareness of Bowdoin as a top academic institution nationwide.

States such as Texas, Washington, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia and Montana yielded significantly more applicants than in previous years, adding regional diversity to the applicant pool. The Office of Admissions saw 50 percent increases in applicants from Montana and South Carolina and considerably more applicants from Mississippi and Florida as well.

"It's great if the College can have that kind of geographic representation on campus," said Meiklejohn, but added that the admissions committee does not attach much weight to the geographic origins of its applications when making decisions.

Letters to ED II applicants were sent out this week, completing the early decision process that committed 220 spots of the incoming first-year class to accepted students. According to Meiklejohn, the Class of 2014 will number somewhere in the range of 485 to 495 students. Approximately 45 percent of the class was determined by the early decision process.

Given the high volume of students currently on campus and the cramped housing accommodations, the enrollment committee will be deliberating into March, when the final numbers for the Class of 2014 will be decided.

Admissions staff will spend the next three weeks reading thousands of applications and will begin committee meetings at the end of the month.

The distribution of private, parochial and public schools remains consistent with previous years, as does the number of applicants from Maine. This year saw 648 international students apply, up from 617 for the Class of 2013; 82 foreign countries are represented in this year's pool.

A recent Washington Post article reported that Bowdoin is backing away from its need-blind admissions policy, an error that Meiklejohn wished to emphasize is not correct.

"It's important for people to understand that we're admitting the class on the same basis as we always have," he said. Bowdoin continues to practice need-blind admissions, and has so far offered financial aid to 39 percent of early decision applicants. Forty-one percent of the Class of 2013 received some form of financial aid, a figure that is expected to be consistent for the Class of 2014.

Of 5,300 regular decision applicants, Meiklejohn estimated that approximately 900 will be admitted, making for a very competitive process.

"We love our applicants; it will be very, very competitive no matter what the exact size of the class is," said Meiklejohn.