Abbott to leave Farm

May 7, 2010, 1:09 a.m.

The man who helped oversee the admission of Stanford’s current freshman, sophomore and junior classes is leaving the Farm.

Stanford Director of Admission Shawn Abbott will step down May 14 to become assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions at New York University. Abbott will start his new job at NYU on June 1.

During his time on the Farm, Abbott ushered in four classes of Stanford undergraduates, from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2014. This spring he was part of the admission cadre that admitted a record-low 7.2 percent of 32,022 Stanford applicants.

The Class of 2011, the first to be admitted during Abbott’s tenure, saw 2,465 of 23,956 applicants — some 10.28 percent — during regular and early admission.

This year, New York University admitted 29.2 percent of about 38,000 applicants. According to Abbott, NYU receives more applications than any other private American university. It currently enrolls some 40,000 students, dispersed among its 18 schools and colleges.

In a statement to the Stanford News Service, Abbott said he looks forward to serving as “a major university’s chief admission officer,” but recognizes that he has “a huge challenge on the horizon.”

He said he decided to leave Stanford about a month ago.

In his four years, “we’ve experienced explosive growth in application volume,” Abbott wrote in an e-mail to The Daily, noting that about 72 or 73 percent of admitted students have accepted their offers this year — Stanford’s highest yield rate ever.

Abbott has long been involved with higher education. He was senior director of admissions at Columbia University before coming to Stanford and has worked in admissions at Boston University and in alumni relations at Drexel University.

As to who will replace Abbott, he said Dean of Admission Richard Shaw will start a national search soon. Meanwhile, the current admission staff “is in great shape,” Abbott said.

Contact An Le Nguyen at [email protected] and Kate Abbott at [email protected].

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