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Stanford University has mailed offers of admission to 2,604 students for the Class of 2001.
Letters were sent March 28 to 1,997 potential freshmen who have until May 1 to decide whether to accept the offer. Letters confirming admission were sent to another 607 students who previously were offered admission under the university's Early Decision Program.
Distinguished academic achievement is the primary criterion for admission to Stanford. More than 90 percent of those offered admission for whom class rankings were reported were ranked within the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Almost half of the admitted students have straight "A" records, and more than two-thirds of them scored 700 or higher out of a possible 800 on the verbal and math portions of the SAT.
Stanford received 16,844 applications a 2.9 percent increase over last year at a time when some elite universities have seen a drop in applications, said James Montoya, dean of admission and financial aid.
Stanford accepted 15.5 percent of the applicants, the lowest admission rate in the past decade, Montoya said. An increase in the size of the applicant pool resulted in the lower rate, he explained.
"The number of applications to Stanford over the last five years has increased by 23.8 percent," he said. "Obviously, as the number of applications increases, the number of denies also has to increase as we keep a relatively stable class size of 1,610 to 1,620 every year."
Montoya said that Stanford's continued increase in applications over the past two years in particular reflects a positive response on the part of students to the way the university has implemented its early decision program.
"We have sent a message that early decision is not the only way to gain admission into Stanford," Montoya said. "Students who are not ready to apply early still see Stanford as a viable option." More than 75 percent of the admitted class were offered admission through the regular admissions program.
Admissions officials noted several trends in the applicant pool. High school students applying to Stanford, for example, are taking more challenging classes and participating in more extracurricular activities than in previous years, Montoya said.
"They are busier than ever, carrying as many as six advanced placement classes in their senior year and participating in as many as three major extracurricular activities," he said.
Other trends that admissions officers noted:
Offers of admission were sent to students in all 50 states and in 46 foreign countries. California has the highest representation in the admitted class (38.9 percent), followed by Texas (6.4 percent), New York (5.3 percent), Illinois (3.6 percent), Massachusetts (3.0 percent) and Washington (2.6 percent). Applications came from students representing 4,614 secondary schools, of which 1,418 are represented in the admitted class.
The ethnic and cultural diversity of the admitted class continues to be strong, Montoya said. About half (49 percent) of those offered admission are Caucasian. Of the other major ethnic groups, 9.9 percent of those offered admission are African American, 24.2 percent are Asian American, 9.7 percent are Mexican American/Chicano and 1.2 percent are Native American. The proportion of international students is 4.7 percent. Of those offered admission, 50.5 percent are men and 49.5 percent are women. All percentages are consistent with recent years.
Prospective freshmen have been invited to visit the campus and meet with faculty members and students during Admit Weekend, April 17-19. The program will highlight the academic opportunities the university offers its undergraduate students. This year, visiting students will be assigned a Stanford "house host," who will be responsible for a group of prospective students staying in his or her residence, as well as a "room host." The house host is charged with making sure that the prospective students get to know each other.
By Marisa Cigarroa