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Admissions as Profit Center

(For students returning to campus, we are re-printing a few highlights from the last term.)

The College has announced the number of early admits into the Class of 2018:

Dartmouth Accepts 469 Early Decision Applicants

Dartmouth has admitted 469 students to next year’s entering Class of 2018 from a pool of 1,678 early decision applicants. The prospective students were notified today, December 11, via a secure website.

The number of early decision applications increased by more than 6 percent from last year…

The early decision group will make up about 40 percent of the overall class.

This figure marks the highest number of early admits in the College’s history:

Early Decision 2013A.jpg

As you can see from the above Dartmouth Fact Book table, after years of admitting approximately 380-400 students via early admission, the Trustees decided in 2009 — as part of newly arrived Jim Kim’s budget/admissions strategy — to abruptly expand the quota of early admits by 15% to about 450-460 students beginning with the Class of 2014. The permanent change in numbers is evident. As we’ve discussed before, such a decision has two consequences:

— The College’s yield improves. By accepting more ED applicants, almost all of whom enroll, the Admissions department has to accept fewer regular-pool applicants, of whom only about one third choose to come to the College. Our all-important “yield” figure is thus protected, and our U.S. News ranking survives for another year.

— Dartmouth’s income improves, too. Students who are accepted ED must also accept the College’s offer of financial assistance. No negotiating for these families by playing off our offer against those of other, more generous schools (like all the other Ivies). ED admits have no other schools to use as leverage.

As we have also observed in the past, Kim and the Trustees also decisively ramped up the quota of private school admits in 2009 for the Class of 2014 and subsequent classes by about 17.5% (from 32-36% to a flat 40% of the incoming class). That decision was for financial reasons alone: private school kids need less aid:

Private-Public Schools in Admissions CompA.jpg

A further decision in the direction of better paying students was also made as regards legacy students — whose numbers rose by 27% (from 10-11% to 14% of the incoming class) beginning with the Class of 2014:

Legacy Admits 2012A.jpg

The number of legacies has remained at exactly 14% for each subsequent class.

The three admissions policy decisions made in 2009 by Kim and the Trustees have had a material impact on the nature of the Dartmouth student body. That they were made for financial reasons, when the College’s bureaucracy in inexcusably bloated, is nothing short of appalling. Let’s save money where it is being wasted, rather than finding ways of taking more money in from students by changing our admissions policies.

Addendum: Over the past few years, about 140-145 ED slots have been reserved annually for recruited athletes.


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