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'Early Decision' admits to make up 35 percent of freshman class
STANFORD -- A total of 568 students are expected to enter Stanford University this fall as the charter members of the "Early Decision" club, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has announced.
James M. Montoya, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, said offers were mailed out Friday, Feb. 2, to 267 students who applied to Stanford in the second phase of its new Early Decision program. Last December, 301 students were offered admission in phase one of the program.
Montoya originally estimated that between 25 and 30 percent of the Class of 2000 would be admitted through the Early Decision program, and that about 2,000 students would apply through the program. He said the overall strength of the Early Decision applicant pool led to a higher number of applicants being admitted.
Each year, Stanford admits a class of about 1,600 freshmen. Some of those who applied for an early decision will be considered in the final phase of the selection process, he said, and others already have been notified they did not qualify, regardless of the schedule.
The total number of applicants under Early Decision was 3,047.
The overall number of applications to Stanford has increased by 23 percent over the past five years, Montoya said. This year, 16,259 applications were received, an increase of 6 percent over the previous year.
The total is the highest since before the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the indirect costs controversy of the early 1990s. The most applications ever received was 17,652, in 1985.
"I think the increase speaks to the fact that we are continuing to recover from the negative publicity we received," Montoya said. "But what I think is much more significant than the increase in number is the extraordinary quality of the applicant pool."
Montoya also said the overall size and strength of the applicant pool withstood a number of challenges this year, such as the introduction of early decision programs at Yale and Princeton, and an increase in the number of students applying to Harvard under its early decision program.
Students applying to Stanford this year had three options: regular admission, in which decision letters will go out in early spring; Early Decision I, in which decisions were mailed before Christmas; and Early Decision II.
Under the conditions of Early Decision, applicants had to agree to attend Stanford if offered admission. The program was developed last year to improve Stanford's "yield rate," the percentage of students offered admission who accept. It has been steady at about 55 percent the past several years.
Montoya cautioned, however, that "we're sensitive to the fact that about 13,000 applicants in the regular pool are still vying for one of 1,000 openings in the class. The message we do not want to be sending out is that Early Decision is the only way to get into Stanford.
"Early decision is not for all students," he said. "Not everyone knows where they want to attend university when they're still in the fall semester of their senior year."
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