After almost three months of consideration, the Office of Admissions sent out regular decision letters for the Class of 2015 last Friday, March 25. This year's acceptance rate—15.6 percent—is notably lower than last year's, which was 19.7 percent.
Admissions had initially targeted March 25 as the final date to mail decision letters, though letters were mailed out a day early last year.
Including Early Decision (ED), the Office of Admissions received 6,554 applications and accepted 1,021 students for the Class of 2015, according to Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn.
"Our yield last year was 28.6 percent...[and] we did this year's admissions assuming that our yield is going to be like last year," he said. However, Meiklejohn noted that the Office of Admissions did not use the exact number to predict this year's yield.
"Bowdoin is a small place...so we can't do that again," he said, explaining the drop in accepted students. Compared to the Class of 2014, approximately 170 fewer students were admitted this year.
"Hopefully this brings us in a little bit under 485 [students]," said Meiklejohn, the ideal size for the incoming class. "Then we'll do a little bit of waitlist business to make the class just right."
At 510 students, the Class of 2014 is the largest in the history of the College.
The decreased size of the incoming first year class will likely result in a smaller number of students of color as well, though Meiklejohn wrote in an email to the Orient that he expects the proportion of minorities to be similar to that of previous years. The Office of Admissions received 1,426 applications from students of color this year, an all-time high and an increase of 12.9 percent compared to the Class of 2014.
Applicant demographics were very similar to data from last year. The Office of Admissions accepted students from 48 states, while the typical average is 49. The proportion of students applying—and accepted—from public, private and parochial schools remained the same. According to Meiklejohn, only the international statistics changed slightly, with the number of countries represented slightly higher, moving up from a norm of 29 to 32 countries, including the United States.
"All geographic regions showed an increase in applications, except the Midwest and southwest," wrote Meiklejohn. The biggest percentage increases in applications came from international, western and mid-Atlantic applicants. These categories saw rises of 15 percent, 18 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
Applicants from Maine reached an all-time high as well, peaking at 505 students.
The number of high schools represented in the applicant pool also increased by 5.7 percent to 2,872 schools, up from 2,725 from last year.
"I continue to see this number as an important measure of our success in broadening Bowdoin's geographic reach," Meiklejohn wrote.
The percentage of students accepted through ED also increased this year. 47.4 percent of students accepted into the Class of 2015 applied through ED, a significant jump from a 10-year average of approximately 42.5 percent. This is "partly a reflection of who applies" and when, said Meiklejohn.
"The only thing that really stands out is that we've taken fewer of everyone," he said. "Most parts of our profile [show] lower than usual admit rates."
All admitted students are invited to Accepted Students Days on April 11, 15 and 18. Accepted students must then inform the College of their decision whether to join the Class of 2015 by May 1.