Princeton Weekly Bulletin   April 7, 2008, Vol. 97, No. 22   prev   next   current

Princeton offers admission to 9.25 percent of applicants in ‘most selective’ process

by Cass Cliatt

Princeton NJ — The University has offered admission to 1,976 students, or 9.25 percent of the record 21,369 applicants for the class of 2012.

This marked the fourth consecutive year that the University set a record for the number of undergraduate applications received, even as the students were the first to apply using a single application deadline.

The University announced in September 2006 that it would end its binding early decision admission process through which students whose first choice was Princeton committed to attend if offered admission. The goal of the move to a single application deadline was to broaden and strengthen the applicant pool, and to provide greater access to students from a wider range of socioeconomic backgrounds who may not have the resources to apply early.

“Our admit rate this year was the most selective in Princeton’s history,” Dean of Admission Janet Lavin Rapelye said. “The record number of applications was a welcome surprise in this year of transition to one application deadline. The depth and breadth of the pool allowed us to choose a powerful class of 2012.”

The University already has begun hearing from some of the students who expect to enroll, Rapelye said.

Acceptance letters were mailed March 31, and the Office of Admission also informed applicants of their decisions through an online notification system. The University expects 1,240 students to enroll in the class of 2012. (See a related story in this issue of the PWB about the Princeton Preview program, the annual hosting program for admitted students.)

The number of applicants represents a 12.8 percent increase over the 18,942 candidates who applied for the class of 2011. Among this year’s applicants: more than 7,000 had a cumulative 4.0 grade point average; 11,000 had a combined score of 2100 or higher on the three sections of the SAT; and they came from 7,436 high schools in 137 countries. Alumni volunteers had personal contact with an unprecedented 98.5 percent of applicants, or 21,052 students.

“Given the strength of the pool, we had to make some difficult decisions,” Rapelye said. “We were not able to include many students with superb credentials. The admitted students are from a wide range of backgrounds, areas and countries. We hope we can persuade them that Princeton is the right place for them.”

In addition to the 1,976 offered admission, 1,526 students were offered positions on the wait list, though only half of those students are expected to choose to stay on the wait list, as in past years.

“We don’t know how the yield will be affected by the end of early decision, so we may have an opportunity to use the wait list,” Rapelye said. “The wait list in the past has been as large as 1,200 students, but it’s slightly larger this year because we don’t know what to expect in terms of the number of students who accept our offer of admission.”

While many wait-listed students will choose other alternatives, several hundred are expected to remain on the wait list. Princeton accepted 47 from the wait list last year, was unable to accept students from the wait list in the previous two years, but accepted 99 from the wait list for the class of 2008.

The students receiving outright offers of admission come from 48 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest numbers of students admitted from California, followed in order by New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. International students make up 10.2 percent of the admitted students, and they are citizens of 61 countries, including Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Fifty percent of the students admitted to the class of 2012 are men, 50 percent are women, and 44.8 percent of all the admitted applicants are students of color.

At the same time admissions offers were made, 52 percent of the admitted students received offers of need-based financial aid. Princeton’s “no-loan” policy, which meets financial need with grants instead of loans, allows all students who qualify for financial aid to graduate debt-free.

Admitted students had an opportunity to review a brief description of their financial aid awards, in addition to learning their admission decision, through the online notification system beginning at 5 p.m. March 31.

“The system continues to work very well, and we had more than 12,700 students go online to check their decision within the first 90 minutes,” Rapelye said.

The 1,240 students expected to enroll is in keeping with a plan initiated in 2005 to expand the undergraduate student body from 4,700 to 5,200 students by 2012.

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