169 Admitted Under Early Decision
Issue   |   Wed, 02/12/2014 - 01:13
Olivia Tarantino '15, Photography Editor
The Office of Admissions accepted 169 out of 476 Early Decision applicants this year. The total number of applications to Amherst increased by more than 6 percent.

Although most high school seniors are still playing the waiting game when it comes to college admissions, a select number of Amherst applicants have recently been relieved of their anxiety. The Office of Admissions reported last week that 169 out of 476 Early Decision applicants received acceptance letters in December. The College received 8,460 applications in total this year, an increase of more than 6 percent from last year.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Tom Parker also said that 37 Early Decision applicants were deferred and will be reconsidered during the Regular Decision round.

Parker estimated that there were about five to six more Early Decision applications this year than last year. He said he was especially satisfied with the diversity of the accepted Early Decision applicants. So far in Class of 2018, there are 45 students of color: 14 African Americans, 16 Asian Americans, six Latinos and 10 multiracial students. The Admissions Office also shared that 16 non-US citizens were accepted early. These international students will be coming from Canada, China, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Switzerland and Uruguay.

Parker commented that although there were countless memorable essays, the stories that he remembers most were those of QuestBridge applicants. QuestBridge is a non-profit program that matches academically high-achieving and talented low-income students to top-tier U.S. colleges and universities and scholarship opportunities. This year, Amherst found 14 QuestBridge matches.

“Each of their stories is truly amazing,” Parker said. “It inspires me to read about how they were able to succeed when all odds were so stacked against them.”

The average SAT scores for the accepted early applicants were the following: 713 for Reading, 723 for Mathematics and 716 for Writing. The average ACT score was 32. This year, there were more ACT takers than SAT takers in the Early Decision pool. The Admission Office noted that recently there has been a general trend of high school students preferring to take the ACT in lieu of the SAT, and that Amherst will continue to take this trend more into consideration.

The college application process was particularly difficult for some this year due to the Common Application’s technical glitches. The Common Application, an application used by Amherst as well as many other colleges, updated its software last August. From automatically logging out students to charging people multiple times for filling out the application, using the Common App this year involved many unexpected complications.

Parker said that Amherst’s Admissions Office is always understanding of frustrating technological difficulties. Even though the Early Decision deadline was kept at November 15, he said that the office was quick to respond to any mishaps relevant to Common App. For instance, many essays of applicants were cut off when Admissions Officers went online to review them. In situations like this, the office was able to contact applicants and sort out any technological problems.

This year, the Office of Admissions also attempted to make the application process more efficient by implementing a paperless application process, opting to do the entire process online. Many other colleges have gone paperless in their application process, including Yale, Williams and Wellesley. Parker admitted that there are always complications to an online process, but because the admissions officers were able to try it first from November to December with a manageable number of applications, they could smooth out any problems that arose.

Parker said a benefit of the paperless application process is that Admissions Officers can dedicate more time to reading a student’s essay instead of searching for different paper documents that pertain to the applicant. Officers were able to pull up necessary documents on their laptops and could also work at home. The new process eliminated any worries about possibly losing paper files.

“The more time you have, you are able to give a student a fair hearing, rather than searching for papers,” Parker said.

Once an application is submitted, two Admissions Officers carefully read the application and essays and grade them based on academic and non-academic basis. Next, each Admissions Officer writes a paragraph about what stands out in particular about the applicant, which helps when all admissions officer gather to make the final decision.

The Admissions Office will make final decisions about Regular Decision applicants in March.

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Comments
Class of 2001 (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/13/2014 - 14:47

Why does anyone have to "estimate" how many more students applied early decision for the Class of 2018 vs. the class 0f 2017? 5 to 6 more applications? What a strange question to ask the dean, and what a strange answer for him to give. This data is published by the College (https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/523119) and the answer is 4 more students applied ED vs. the prior year.

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