Dec. 5, 2002
Vol. 22 No. 5

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    Early applications in College increase nearly 25 percent

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    An unusually demanding November for members of the Office of College Admissions staff was more than welcome this year. The College received a record-breaking number of early action applications this fall; 2,903 students applied for admission to the Class of 2007, a nearly 25 percent increase over last year’s total.

    What’s even more encouraging, said Ted O’Neill, Dean of Admissions, is that early indications show it is not just the number, but also the quality of applicants to Chicago that is increasing.

    The growth in applications came from students with significantly higher test scores than in previous years, O’Neill said. The percentage of applicants scoring in the 1,500 to 1,600 tier increased by 43 percent; in the 1,400 to 1,490 tier by 38 percent.

    “Clearly, more and more students want to come to Chicago and are making us their first choice,” said O’Neill of the increase. “I’ve always felt that we deserved more attention, and now we’re finally getting it.”

    In addition to the overall increase, O’Neill noted two other key trends in this year’s early applicant pool.

    First, applications from international students continued to increase, rising by nearly 100 percent (from 72 applications to 139) from last year. O’Neill credited this increase to the growing popularity of elite American universities among the world’s top students. “A handful of other schools, the most highly respected internationally, are experiencing a similar increase in applications from abroad,” O’Neill said. He also believes the availability of an online application is making it easier for international students to meet the Nov. 15 deadline for early applications.

    Second, early indications suggest that one of the College’s goals–to diversify its applicant pool–appears to be succeeding. Applications from Latinos and African-Americans have increased, as have applications from students from public schools. There also was a sharp increase in applications from the South (63 percent) and Southwest (34 percent).

    O’Neill attributes the increase in early applications, in part, to the University’s increasingly aggressive outreach campaign, which began five years ago and aims to diversify the College. “We mail more, we use the Internet more and we visit more schools,” said O’Neill. For instance, the College now sends Admissions staff to Latin America, the Far East and South America.

    O’Neill is, to date, very encouraged by this year’s early applicant pool.

    “Having more opportunities to be selective is going to work to our benefit,” he said. “We’re having increases among the kinds of students who are most appropriate for us.”