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2008 Spring Issue 5 (May 9, 2008)

Competition rises as applicant pool grows; College sees a two percent increase in number of applicants

May 9, 2008
By Evan Sander

The end of spring term, for many Carleton students, means sundresses and Wednesday night island parties. For the school’s admissions department, however, April and May represent a conclusion to all of their efforts from throughout the year. The admissions office plays a crucial role as it makes tough decisions to determine the future of the student body and is central in publicizing the school nationally and internationally. After sifting through thousands of applications from November to March, the admissions office now reaps the fruit of their labors as accepted students have responded to the school for the class of 2012.

And it’s been good news for the school. With one of the biggest high school graduating classes in history, there was a 2% increase in the number of applicants as the pool rose to 4950 applicants. Accepted students are coming from 40 states and 16 foreign countries. As of now, excluding students yet to be accepted from the waitlist, there will be 496 students, 250 men and 246 women,with 21% of those students coming from multicultural background and 7% of new students coming from foreign countries. While the admissions office has a target of about 490 students for the class of 2012, other schools’ waitlist activity will affect Carleton’s class size. In addition, the admissions office is still waiting for more deposits to come in, which would increase the number of students for next year’s freshman class.

“We did not see anything dramatic in our applicant pool as a result of this being a bigger high school graduating class, nor did it alter the admission office's approach in recruitment or selection,” said Paul Thiboutot, Dean of Admissions. “We just braced for larger numbers of applicants.”

While many of the trends held steady in terms of geographic and multicultural draw in the applicant pool, the number of international students applying who did not need financial aid doubled from about 50 applicants last year to 100 applicants this year. The number of accepted students who applied early decision also increased. According to Thiboutot, “The consensus among the admission staff is that it has gotten progressively more difficult to gain admission in each of the last three years. The objective measures of quality like course selection in high school, GPA and class rank and standardized testing all are inching up a bit, as well as the array of talents which student applicants bring to the table.”

“On a comparative basis this seemed a more competitive class for admission,” said Thiboutot. “I hope this is a sign for the future, because we do want to attract the most talented group of students to pursue study at Carleton.”

While the class of 2012 is comfortably settled, the admissions staff will stay busy throughout the summer preparing for next years’ efforts. In the fall, the hectic schedule will start up again for an office with never-ending responsibilities.

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