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Who Wants to Come to Hanover?

Let’s sum up the College’s weak position as far as applications goes by looking at a syncretic graph prepared for me by a data-driven ‘18: how many applications the various Ivy schools received for each open admissions slot for the Classes of 2007 to 2021. In this way, we can compare like with like, and trends become even more apparent. A few observations:

Ivy Applcants Per Spot 2007-2021.jpg

— For the Classes of 2007 to 2015, Penn and Cornell lagged in the number of applications that they received for each open slot in their freshman class. The other six Ivies, including Dartmouth, were bunched together at about 12 (in 2007) to 21 (in 2015) applicants for each place in the freshman class.

— With the Classes of 2015/2016, Columbia broke out on the upside, Penn and Cornell continued their climb towards the median, and Brown and Dartmouth began to fail to keep pace with HYP.

— The College’s performance since admitting the Class of 2016 is especially worrisome: we seem headed down to Penn’s level. The Quakers could pass us on this metric in a year or two. Will Cornell be next?

— Yale’s number has dropped for the Class of 2021 because it is opening two new colleges (moving from from 1360 to 1550 undergrads). Application growth has not kept pace with the additional number of admissions spaces that it has to offer. For other schools, the number of undergrads has grown slowly over the years, if at all.

All in all, Dartmouth had the worst performance in admissions among the Ancient Eight schools over the past five years. We are headed to the basement of the Ivies.

Addendum: In response to alumni queries, the College’s fundraisers are laying the blame for the decline in applications on outgoing Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris ‘84. Salvation, they say, lies with recently arrived Dean Lee Coffin.

Now that’s shallow. And unfair. Applications numbers might be slightly impacted by a Dean of Admissions’ performance, but numbers improved sharply for Maria, too, in her first five years as Dean (she moved from being the longstanding #2 to the top job in 2007 — in time to admit the Class of 2011). You can’t blame your sales force for weak results when the real variable is the declining quality of your product itself.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Regarding your recent exposé of Dartmouth’s declining admission applications, see at this link what the University of Missouri has been experiencing after its romance and complicity with the BLMer protests a few years ago. The BLMers’ disruptions at Baker Library and the administration’s not so subtle embrace and non-punishment of them were toxic. When these stories go national, parents notice and there are consequences. These consequences will continue to be felt until Hanlon and his pc administration are eradicated. I’m not holding my breath.

The story notes: “The University of Missouri is shutting down three dorms next year because of low freshman enrollment, The Maneater reports… This is on top of four other dorms that were already scheduled to go “offline” because of plummeting enrollment.”

Addendum: And another:

In the real world when an enterprise appears to be going down hill at breakneck speed vs. its competition, change, especially at the top, usually occurs quickly. In Dartmouth’s case this is not happening, and there seems to be an underlying belief that a successful capital campaign (i.e. other people’s money — OPM) will fix everything. It never works that way, and it will not work for Dartmouth today. Future applicants to a school look at academic, athletic and social options well before they check out funding and endowment.

In addition, today’s savvy students also take a hard look at the culture on campus. Too many protests and too much social engineering turns off a lot of applicants. What comes around goes around. If Dartmouth really cared deeply about its academic standing they would fix Summer Term ASAP for starters, cancel a few departments, and pay the faculty a competitive wage. I was appalled at what entry level Profs get paid.

Go figure. Where is our two-faced Board? Sometimes you have to take the hit to get better.

Will the faculty stand up and be counted? They have done it before.

It takes years to build a good reputation or a tradition but only a few minutes to destroy one.


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