Admit rate drops to 7.2 percent

March 29, 2010, 1:05 a.m.

Following the release of admission decisions last Friday, 2,300 applicants will have the opportunity to call themselves members of the Stanford Class of 2014 this coming fall.

Over the last several years, record numbers have marked Stanford’s admission season. The University has again set a record by accepting only 7.2 percent of this year’s applicant pool out of more than 32,000 students.

The number of applicants also jumped from the approximate 30,000 applications received for the Class of 2013. Stanford admitted 2,427 students in 2009, including 127 applicants from the waitlist.

An anticipated 20 transfer students will also be accepted this year and 998 students were waitlisted.

The number of early action applicants rose 3.8 percent to 5,566 applicants, and the projected size of next year’s freshman class is around 1,700 students.

Admission decisions were released six days ahead of schedule to “alleviate anxiety,” according to Director of Admission Shawn Abbott. Just three percent of applicants were given a spot on the waitlist. Abbott said that dropping to a 7.2 percent admit rate makes “admission more competitive than ever before.”

To deal with the rise in applications, reading was divided between 24 admission officers and part-time hours were raised to 30 hours per week from 20. According to Abbott, the online system greatly expedited the processing of applications, meaning that applications could be read immediately after the submission deadline.

“We still move through each application the same way, reading all parts and providing a thorough, holistic review,” wrote Abbott in an e-mail to The Daily in February. “Every application is still read by a human being and there is no pre-screening done for any part of the applicant pool.”

Harvard, Princeton and the University of Chicago also saw a rise in applicant numbers, with Princeton seeing a 19-percent increase from just last year. These universities will release their admission decisions on April 1st.

The nationwide influx is largely attributed to lower acceptance rates driving students to apply to more schools to better their odds of acceptance. Last year, Stanford was ranked the third most selective university in the nation behind Harvard and Yale, both of which also accepted seven percent of applicants last year.

Spencer Nelson, one of 753 students accepted from the early action pool in December, accepted his admission offer last week. Initially he planned on applying to Dartmouth early, but said that Stanford’s early action program, which is non-binding and a much shorter wait, was “much more attractive.”

“It was awful waiting to hear,” he said. “I would walk around thinking, ‘Five more days, five more days.’”

And when the early action decisions were released ahead of schedule, Nelson said, “it was a great relief.”

“Waiting to hear the decision was like walking on hot coals,” he said. “And I was pretty sure that if I got in I would want to go.”

“I imagine that for the kids who didn’t get in, hearing before the promised date would have been awful, but waiting really sucks,” Nelson said.

Accepted students have until May 1 to accept or reject their offer.

Daniel Khalessi contributed to this report

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