Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The admissions rate reached a record low for the new class of 2012, topping last year’s class of 2011. However, a slightly larger number of students were accepted in the expectations that the yield — the portion of students who accept their offers of admission — will decrease.
The trend of increased applications to Swarthmore has been attributed to the demographics of the “baby-boomer-echo.” The most recent graduating class has the largest number of 18 year-old students applying to colleges.
Nationally, there has also been an increase in the number of schools to which each prospective student applies. “There are not just more applicants, but more applications. Each student is submitting more applications,” said Bock.
However, Bock speculated that the increase in applications might be connected to the extinction of Harvard’s and Princeton’s early application option. The early option allowed students to apply to a single school earlier than regular deadlines, under certain conditions. Princeton’s early decision bound students to attend if accepted. Harvard’s program was non-binding. Both universities eliminated the option this year due to concerns about students applying early being unable to compare financial aid packages, among other issues.
Applications that would previously have been withdrawn from Swarthmore, if the students were accepted into early programs, were instead added to the pool of regular decision applications. For the same reason, Swarthmore accepted more students than last year, in the expectations that more students who were accepted into Swarthmore were accepted into other schools. “We’re going to see potentially lower yield on the admit group,” said Bock, referring to the proportion of admitted students who actually enroll in the college. “The more selective you are, the more choice students have,” he said.
In addition to increases in domestic applications, the college received a 27% increase in international applications. Bock attributed the increase to more public outreach in foreign countries and the weakening dollar. Due to the deprecation of the dollar, Swarthmore’s tuition has become comparatively cheaper for international students interested in the college. “Will that continue? I don’t know,” said Bock. “I still believe that US has best colleges.”
Admissions also accepted more international students in an effort to increase a different type of diversity on campus. “In terms of diversity the international perspective that [students] bring is an important element to education,” said Bock. “In an ever shrinking world, to have that perspective is more important.”
Another trend was the increase of students who participated in fencing. “A lot more students started fencing at their schools,” said Bock. Circus-related activities have also seemed to become the newest trend.