'Tis the Season -- For College Admissions

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:57:03 +0000

The Washington Post reports today that many private colleges have admitted more applicants than usual this year:

After years of increasing selectivity driven by bumper crops of strong applicants, many private college officials are concerned that more students will turn to public universities, which are less expensive. As of today's deadline to notify most applicants, many schools have sent out more acceptance letters and e-mails, built bigger waiting lists and pumped more money into financial aid to lure students to their campuses.

The bottom line: It will be slightly easier to gain admission to some private colleges this year, officials said.

The article goes on to point out that some institutions "such as Harvard and Dartmouth are even more competitive than usual this year, in part because they have assured low-income students that they won't have to borrow money to pay their costs." This is borne out in today's issue of The Dartmouth, which reports:

“I think it goes back to the strength of our financial aid programs and the awareness of our financial aid programs,” [Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria] Laskaris said. “Concern about the amount of financial aid that smaller schools could provide versus the amount of financial aid that Dartmouth and its Ivy peers could provide may have been some of the reason for [decrease in admissions numbers at liberal arts colleges].”

Dartmouth’s new financial aid initiative, announced in January 2008, includes need-blind admissions for international student and eliminates tuition for students whose families earn less than $75,000 a year.

Dartmouth saw a 14-percent increase in the number of admitted students who qualify for financial aid this year, and the College will devote $72 million to financial aid next year, a 13-percent increase. Approximately 55 percent of the Class of 2013 will likely receive financial aid, Laskaris said.

I'm looking forward to meeting the Class of 2013.