Higher yield accounts for slightly larger freshman class


Students, parents and minivans filled to the brim arrived on campus Labor Day weekend as the first contingent of the class of 2005 moved into the dormitories. The freshmen came a week early to participate in the Outdoor Action and Community Action pre-orientation programs.

Princeton NJ -- Princeton's class of 2005 is starting off the academic year by already exceeding a goal. Freshman enrollment is slightly larger than its target because more admitted students than anticipated decided to enroll.

The new class numbers 1,185 -- 20 students above the original target of 1,165. An additional 26 students accepted an offer of admission, but have deferred their enrollment to the fall of 2002.

"Given that our trustees announced last winter that our students would no longer be asked to take out loans as part of their financial aid, the difference to be made up entirely by additional grant aid, we anticipated that our yield might increase this year," said Fred Hargadon, dean of admission. "So we made fewer initial offers of admission than last year, figuring we could use our wait list to come up to the precise number if need be."

However, the yield increased a bit more than officials predicted, from 68 percent to 71 percent, resulting in a larger than anticipated class and making it impossible to admit anyone from the wait list.

Some schools in the country have experienced significant enrollment gains, resulting in housing crunches and other problems. The surge is being attributed to more students graduating from high school and increasing numbers of them deciding to attend college. The fluctuations make it difficult for admissions officials to rely on time-tested methods of estimating enrollment.

Hargadon said the slight increase in freshmen at Princeton is "not a major crisis" and that all of the students received campus housing.

The 614 men and 571 women of the class of '05 come from 825 secondary schools in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and 39 other countries.

They hail from places like: Anchorage, Alaska; Calabasas, Calif.; Pearland, Texas; Missoula, Mont.; Alpharetta, Ga.; Bronx, N.Y.; Amity, Pa.; Bismarck, N.D.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Pewaukee, Wis.; Machias, Maine; Bayonne, N.J.; Apple Valley, Minn.; and Pascagoula, Miss.

They also come from Petit Valley, Trinidad and Tobago; Sydney, Australia; Recklinghausen, Germany; Genoa, Italy; Haifa, Israel; Makati City, Philippines; Dublin, Ireland; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Gulshan, Bangladesh; Winnipeg, Canada; Tsuzuki-Ku, Japan; Vienna, Austria; Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Sandnes, Norway; and from hundreds of other places, across the United States and around the world.

They have achieved national and state recognition in debate, speedskating, writing, fencing, science, athletics, music, karate, 4-H and ROTC. They have led student government, religious organizations and service organizations. They have developed software, published, been named Presidential Scholars and All Americans and, in at least one instance, become a licensed acupuncturist. Most of them were born in 1983, give or take a year.

"To those of us in admissions, they are 1,185 individual short stories who, collectively, make up an exceptional group of freshmen," Hargadon said. "These 1,185 individual freshmen, alas, will most likely read about themselves only in tabular form: 46 percent are on scholarship; 31 percent of those who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents are from one or another minority background; around 9 to 10 percent are international students; and more than 14 percent are sons and daughters of Princeton graduates."

Total undergraduate enrollment at the University this fall is expected to be just over 4,600.

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