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University braces for large incoming class


Due to a three percent increase from last year’s yield rate, the Class of 2016 will have about 50 more students than anticipated by the Office of Admission.

Administrators across undergraduate departments are taking steps to accommodate this larger entering class, including keeping Gavilan as an all-frosh dorm, hiring more Pre-Major Advisors (PMAs) and potentially hiring more Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) professors and Thinking Matters teaching fellows.

(M.J MA/ The Stanford Daily)

Freshman class size has steadily increased over the past three years from 1,675 to 1,709 to 1,766 entering students, which is the current approximation for the Class of 2016, according to Dean of Admission Richard Shaw.

“Right now, the count is 1,786 [students], but some will withdraw over summer,” Shaw wrote in an email to The Daily.

The class of 2014 and 2015 will also gain 27 transfer students next year, according to Shaw.

Stanford’s yield rate has been consistently increasing from 64 percent in 2002 to this year’s 73 percent rate.

Because so many students accepted their offer of admission, Shaw said that all students who were placed on the waitlist were released and admission for the Class of 2016 is officially closed.

Although Stanford Student Housing was planning to convert Gavilan in Florence Moore Hall (FloMo) into a four-class dorm for the 2012-13 academic year, the residence will have to remain all-frosh in order to accommodate the large freshman class.

Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, student affairs officer for ResEd, wrote in an email to The Daily that dorms in FloMo often change their class composition from year to year.

“FloMo is the type of dorm that can accommodate a wide distribution of students depending on the needs of that year,” Brown-McClure wrote.

Brown-McClure added that although the number of incoming freshmen will be higher next year, there is adequate residential staff in place to meet their needs.

In addition to the strain on student housing, the office of Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR) will also see effects of the larger incoming class.

Freshmen are normally assigned to Pre-Major Advisors (PMAs) in groups of four to six other students. UAR has hired additional PMAs for next year in order to maintain the intimate size of PMA groups.

In an email to The Daily, Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising Julie Lythcott-Haims ’89 wrote that UAR is ready for the incoming class.

“Luckily, our recruitment efforts this year already yielded the largest number of PMAs ever, so we’re in good shape on that front,” Lythcott-Haims wrote.

Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Harry Elam wrote in an email to The Daily that UAR is developing a new online advising tool in addition to the PMA program. The new tool, called “Productive Pathways,” would help freshmen select courses and make sure they feel supported during their freshman year.

UAR has also been planning to hire two new Academic Directors (ADs), independent of the Class of 2016 increased yield, as part of an effort to bring the overall AD-to-student ratio down, Lythcott-Haims wrote.

Elam added that more PWR instructors are needed, and that the new required freshman program, Thinking Matters, may have to hire more post-doctoral fellows to lead discussion sections in order to maintain small class sizes.

Despite these necessary adjustments, administrators said they were thrilled with the larger-than-usual size of the incoming class.

“On top of the obvious things – the academic excellence and infinite possibility – I imagine the genuine affection we all feel for the place comes through and matters to admits,” Lythcott-Haims wrote about why the yield rate was so high this year.

“It is good news that Stanford has had such a strong response,” Shaw wrote. “The University has the capacity to manage this overage.”

Lythcott-Haims added that there is only one potential problem with the freshman class size increasing.

“In UAR, we love freshmen, so there is no such thing as too many of them, except to the extent we can’t fit them all in MemAud,” she said, referring to New Student Orientation events held in Memorial Auditorium.

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