By Kurt Chirbas
Less than 12 percent of students who applied early action to the Stanford Class of 2017 were accepted Friday afternoon, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Stanford admitted 725 prospective freshmen from a restrictive early action pool of 6,103 students, the largest in the school’s history.
The University also deferred action on 572 candidates, whose applications will be reconsidered in the regular decision round.
Stanford’s recent mentions in the news — such as two University-affiliated professors winning Nobel Prizes, including visiting professor Alvin Roth in economics and School of Medicine professor Brian Kobilka in chemistry, and the continued success of athletic programs like the football team, which will be appearing in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 — may have played a role in this bump in applications, according to Colleen Lim, the new director of admissions, who was appointed to the post in August.
Last year, 5,880 high school students applied through the early action process, a slight dip from 2010 when 5,929 candidates applied early. This downtick in applications coincided with Harvard and Princeton’s relaunch of their early action programs. Lim said that the new growth in applications shows that Stanford has not been significantly affected by the decision of these peer institutions to bring back early action.
“Our number [of applicants] continues to rise,” she said. “In that way, there hasn’t been a really big impact because our pool is still extraordinary in terms of the depth, and the extraordinary accomplishments of the students who have applied here.”
She noted the diversity represented in this early group of admits, which includes representation from 43 states and 28 countries. According to Lim, there is also a growth in the number of students interested in the humanities among the accepted class, showing an increased diversity of academic interests.
Thirty fewer students were admitted through the restrictive early action process than last year, when 755 early action candidates received acceptance letters. The news comes a day after Harvard announced that it accepted 16 percent more students through its early action program than last year.
According to Lim, the University chose to admit fewer students this year in order to provide more opportunities for more candidates in the regular decision round.
“We anticipate that we are going to receive another 29,000 to 30,000 applications,” Lim said. “We want to provide the opportunity for those students in our pool as well.”
She also noted that the University would probably end up admitting fewer students in the regular decision round as well given a higher-than-expected yield rate last year, which resulted in 50 more students accepting their Stanford offer of admission than anticipated. As a result, the admissions office did not take any students off its wait list, and Stanford Student Housing had to avert its initial plan to turn Gavilan House in Florence Moore Hall from an all-frosh to four-class dorm.
This year, Stanford extended its early application deadline by four days from Nov. 1 to Nov. 5 due to the potential impact of Hurricane Sandy. Lim said that the move allowed students affected by the hurricane to be considered in the early action round, with the University receiving “quite a few” applications after the deadline from impacted areas.
She also added that the office is aware that some students were still not able to meet this extended deadline, but that many of them are still planning to submit their application in the regular decision round.
With the first application round behind her as director of admissions, Lim said she plans “to get some rest” and prepare for the regular decision round, whose applications are due Jan. 1. She credited the rest of the admissions team for a smooth first round.
“Everybody took great pride in providing every student the opportunity to present themselves [in their applications], and then [for us] to read them holistically,” she said. “Our returning staff really mentored some of our first-years, and everybody contributed to a great process from our end.”