Widgets Magazine

Abbott to leave Farm

The man who helped oversee the admission of Stanford’s current freshman, sophomore and junior classes is leaving the Farm.

Stanford Director of Admission Shawn Abbott will step down May 14 to become assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions at New York University. Abbott will start his new job at NYU on June 1.

During his time on the Farm, Abbott ushered in four classes of Stanford undergraduates, from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2014. This spring he was part of the admission cadre that admitted a record-low 7.2 percent of 32,022 Stanford applicants.

The Class of 2011, the first to be admitted during Abbott’s tenure, saw 2,465 of 23,956 applicants — some 10.28 percent — during regular and early admission.

This year, New York University admitted 29.2 percent of about 38,000 applicants. According to Abbott, NYU receives more applications than any other private American university. It currently enrolls some 40,000 students, dispersed among its 18 schools and colleges.

In a statement to the Stanford News Service, Abbott said he looks forward to serving as “a major university’s chief admission officer,” but recognizes that he has “a huge challenge on the horizon.”

He said he decided to leave Stanford about a month ago.

In his four years, “we’ve experienced explosive growth in application volume,” Abbott wrote in an e-mail to The Daily, noting that about 72 or 73 percent of admitted students have accepted their offers this year — Stanford’s highest yield rate ever.

Abbott has long been involved with higher education. He was senior director of admissions at Columbia University before coming to Stanford and has worked in admissions at Boston University and in alumni relations at Drexel University.

As to who will replace Abbott, he said Dean of Admission Richard Shaw will start a national search soon. Meanwhile, the current admission staff “is in great shape,” Abbott said.

Contact An Le Nguyen at lenguyen@stanford.edu and Kate Abbott at kmabbott@stanford.edu.

  • john

    You guys were scooped by paloaltoonline.com. They had an article yesterday about Abbott leaving.

  • Feeling duped yet?

    Maybe now we can get someone without the feel good, gimmick admission mentality and get back to admitting the most qualified applicants.

  • Johnny

    Stanford is losing great people all over the place. Shawn is/was fantastic.

  • Hi

    Maybe now we can get someone without the feel good, gimmick admission mentality and get back to admitting the most qualified applicants.

    What does that even mean?

  • observer

    “gimmick admissions” = filling a larger and larger fraction of the class from the essentially captive early pool, and sending hundreds of so-called “likely letters” … both devices designed to reduce competition and increase the yield rate.

  • SCEA Admit

    There’s nothing “essentially captive” whatsoever about the early admit pool–an early admit holds all the cards and needn’t commit until he or she fully explores other options. It makes good sense to try to make a significant number of early admit offers, since that pool tends to be filled with students most likely to be cross-admits at peer institutions (all of whom send out lots of likely letters as well). I think Stanford Admissions does an excellent job, and I’m sure it will continue under the able leadership of Dean Shaw. Mr. Abbott was an asset as well and I wish him much success in his new position.

  • Ha ha

    ““gimmick admissions” = filling a larger and larger fraction of the class from the essentially captive early pool, and sending hundreds of so-called “likely letters” … both devices designed to reduce competition and increase the yield rate.”

    This means that Harvard lost to Yale and Stanford, and could have a yield around 68%, and draw more than 200+ from waitlist.

  • Scamford Alum

    Shaw, right. Him and his Big 4= Ethnicity,Major Donor,Celebrity and Legacy.

  • SCEA Admit

    Scamford Alum, I’m Caucasian, non-legacy, certainly not a celebrity, just an admit with a 2390 SAT, 800 x 4 on SAT II’s, many well-developed interests, research experience, and numerous other merit-based qualifications. I met lots of academic stars at Admit Weekend, too, just fyi.

  • observer

    If the SCEA early pools did not reduce the size of overlap pools, and give Stanford and Yale the chance to “woo” the early admits for 3 months without competition, they wouldn’t rely on them so heavily. That’s the only reason such early admit programs exist. The yield rate on SCEA admits is 20 points higher than the yield rate on regular (“open market”) admits.

    Similarly, “likely letters” are a device to admit people months before the “competition” – hoping to win their hearts by sending them their first love letter. Stanford now sends more “likelies” than any elite except Dartmouth.

  • Ha ha

    It is not that Harvard did not do anything to boost its yield, and the choice of removing SCEA was Harvard’s. The results simply prove the wrong decision it made. I am expecting 67-69% tomorrow.

  • Scamford Alum

    The damage Abbott and Shaw have done to Stanford’s prestige is incalcuable and may not be recoverable.

  • SCEA Admit

    Scamford Alum, you apparently have some personal axe to grind, since your view about Stanford’s prestige is at odds with the rest of the world’s. Stanford’s prestige has reached, by all objective measures, an all-time high, with more students and parents alike naming it their #1 Dream School than any other, and with an increasing number of students admitted to other elite schools choosing Stanford. This is in addition to Stanford’s super-high placement in rankings of all kinds both domestic and worldwide. Stanford, and all of its peers, are working to make themselves accessible to top candidates from all walks of life, and that’s a very good thing.

  • Scamford Alum

    You need to get out of the bubble more often Admit. You’ll find out for yourself in a few years.

  • SCEA Admit

    My impressions and information re: Stanford’s rep are all coming from outside of the bubble, actually. Best wishes to you.

  • to “Ha ha”

    “The 2,110 students admitted to Harvard’s Class of 2014 have responded to their offers of admission so favorably that the final yield will likely exceed last year’s mark of 76 percent. They were selected from a pool of 30,489 applicants, the largest in Harvard’s history…” (Harvard Gazette – May 10, 2010)