Princeton early admission applications jump 10 percent

Catherine Duazo

November 17th, 2012

3,791 students applied for early admission to the University, about a 10-percent increase over the 3,443 who applied last year.

The University may still accept more applications because the Office of Admission instituted a flexible deadline due to the complications posed by Hurricane Sandy, according to University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua.

This extended deadline may delay the University’s release of its first round admission decisions. The decisions are currently scheduled to be released on Dec. 15.

The deadline for submitting an application was initially Nov. 1, but the University extended it to accommodate applicants affected by the storm that hit the East Coast the week of the deadline. The University then extended the deadline for all applicants.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said her office will consider early admission applications up until sometime after Thanksgiving, though a final deadline has not yet been determined.

“We will do everything we can [to release decisions as soon as possible],” Rapelye said. “We know they’re anxious to hear, but we will do a thorough process.”

Last year, the Office of Admission accepted 726 of the applicants, or 21 percent. The target class size for the Class of 2017 is 18 fewer students than recent class sizes due to the over-enrollment of the Class of 2016 by 49 students.

The over-enrollment was partly a result of the University’s reinstated early action program, which began last year and made the yield more difficult to predict. The University had a binding early decision program between 1996 and 2006 but stopped the practice to attempt to make the admission process more equitable.

Rapelye said that this year’s 10-percent increase may be because applicants to the Class of 2017 became aware of the early action program at an earlier point in their high school careers than applicants in the Class of 2016 did.

“When you make announcements about early programs, you have a group that were juniors last year who perhaps had a little more time to think about it,” Rapelye said.

Bev Taylor, founder of Ivy Coach, a New York-based college admissions consulting firm, suggested that the deadline extension could have contributed to the number of applications the University received. Unlike Princeton, other colleges only extended the deadline for students affected by Sandy. Taylor said that this may have given students who were not affected by the hurricane some additional time to complete their Princeton applications.

Yale received 4,514 early applications this year, and Harvard has not yet released its numbers. The other five Ivy League schools use a binding early decision process. At Dartmouth, the early applicant pool decreased by more than 12 percent, the first time the number of early admission applicants declined in six years.

Dartmouth’s decrease may be a result of decreased interest among high school students in binding early decision programs in general, according to Taylor.

“My theory is that kids want to do it early, but too often, they don’t want to commit,” Taylor said.