March 28, 1996
Vol. 15, No. 14

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    Significant rise in College applications

    Applications to the College for the 1996-97 academic year have increased 23 percent compared with 1995-96, the biggest increase in 50 years.

    "The application increase is the largest since the 1940s, perhaps the largest since the days when Chicago was in the Big Ten," said Ted O'Neill, Dean of College Admissions. "More important, we have increased our numbers in every significant demographic area."

    Research by the College Admissions Office shows that there has been a 40 percent increase in College applications in the last four years and a 70 percent increase in the last 10 years. The proportion of women in the entering first-year class at Chicago has increased from 30 percent in 1975 to 48 percent in 1995. Also, since last year, the number of African-American students applying to the College has increased by 33 percent, and the number of Latino students applying has increased by 26 percent.

    The application increase is twice that reported by the College's main competitors, including all the Ivy League schools, Stanford, Duke, Rice and Northwestern, among others.

    "Many other schools have reported increased application figures, but we are up far more than most," O'Neill said.

    O'Neill attributes Chicago's increase in part to the work of the Admissions Office since the end of the 1980s.

    "We have increased our recruiting travels around the country and have continued to make the kind of personal contact that fewer and fewer colleges are offering to high school students," O'Neill said. "But what is most clear from our applicants during the last decade is that the University and the city have increased in stature in the minds of college-bound students. It also helps that we have perhaps the most interesting college application of any college anywhere -- a fact noted in the recent New York Times article about our application's essay questions."

    And O'Neill said that it's not just applicants who are more excited about the College.

    "The interest in the College mirrors the increased morale of the current student body, as well as the positive changes that have taken place on campus, including an increased use of the new Reynolds Club, the upgraded bookstore and the ever-increasing number of student activities," O'Neill said. "The College is an exciting place -- we know it, and more and more applicants know it."