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Statistics and Dartmouth Statistics

The other day in a post we commented on the College’s rising number of early decision admits. As you can see below in the screenshot that was in the post of the relevant page of the Dartmouth Fact Book, the Class of 2015 contained 474 students who matriculated after being accepted ED (far right column). This figure had been on the Fact Book website for about twelve months when we reproduced it.

ED 2015a.jpg

Well, it appears that figures change at the College. Subsequent to our post, the Fact Book has been updated to include the Class of 2016, and lo and behold, the number of early admits from the previous year has been modified: it now seems that there were only 426 early admission students in the Class of 2015 (second column from the right below) — a difference of 48 students. Where did the others go?

ED 2016.jpg

The number of Class of 2015 ED admits (as opposed to matriculants) in the two columns mentioned above also changed: from 497 students to 442.

As you can see above, the Class of 2016 had 465 students admitted ED (450 actually enrolled), and the College is now reporting that the Admissions Department has admitted 464 students ED for the Class of 2017 — almost the exact same number as the previous year, even though ED applications fell this year from 1,801 to 1,574, a drop of 12.6%. I would have thought that such a steep decline in ED applications would have led to a concomitant decline in ED acceptances. But, no. That’s worrisome. Such a consistent number smacks of a numerical goal for ED admits unrelated to the quality of applicants.

The D reported (good digging, guys!) earlier this week that ED applications at the Ivies were all up, except at the College (Cornell has not yet reported its figures):

Dartmouth’s decrease in early decision applications is concurrent with increases in the applicant pools of other Ivy League universities. Harvard University and Princeton University, which reinstated their early admission programs last year, experienced application increases of 14.9 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Other Ivy League institutions also saw increasing applicant pools, with applications to Yale University rising by 4.4 percent, Brown University by 3 percent, University of Pennsylvania by 5.6 percent and Columbia University by 1.3 percent. Cornell University has not yet released its early decision numbers.

Of course, all of this doesn’t look too good right now for Dartmouth. One might think, despite IP Folt’s protestations to the contrary, that the College has a PR problem. But hey, maybe come next year, this year’s numbers will be different.

Addendum: An astute reader has pointed me to the College’s most recent official figures in the Common Data Set for the Class of 2015, where the statistics for ED applications and offers are consistent with the College’s first set of data (above), but not the second:

ED CDS.jpg

Curiously enough, a contemporaneous Dartmouth Now press release reported:

Dartmouth has admitted 444 students into the Class of 2015 from a pool of 1,759 early decision applicants.

My take: there is a story behind the scenes here, or someone was just plain sloppy. Either way, the College does not come out of this situation looking good.

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