Vol. 18 No. 9 May 2004

Spring Spot Check
on Admissions
How are college applications for the fall class of 2004 unfolding? What new trends did CB spot? Is the process for admitting students changing? These are some of the issues CB looked at and here is some of what we found.

Emory Hits Record High. Applications to Emory hit a record high for the second year in a row. The number of applicants for the fall of 2004 reached 11,155, up from 10,372 last year. This represents an increase of 7.5 percent and 13 percent in the last two years.

Dan Walls, dean of admission for the undergraduate college, said there is no one definitive reason for another record year of applicants, but does credit the campus' new facilities and a broader recruitment effort.

"We have implemented some additional recruiting techniques in the last few years," he said, "including starting to reach out to high school sophomores instead of just juniors and seniors. This incoming class is the first group of students that we would have targeted as sophomores, so we have a sense that the outreach is paying off.

"The Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, the Math & Science Center and the living-learning Claremont Campus, all have opened within the last two years. It's hard to believe that visiting students and their parents wouldn't be impressed by these new facilities that are largely meant for undergraduates. Of course, our location in Atlanta is a huge plus." Walls added.

Growth in applicants comes from every region of the country, but the most dramatic rise is a 14 percent increase in the Southwest (to 7 percent of the total pool). There also was an 11 percent increase in international applicants after a slight dip last year (6 percent of the total pool). Additional increases were fairly evenly distributed across regions.

Princeton U. Accepts 12 Percent of Applicants. Of the 13,690 applicants to the Class of 2008, 1,631 were admitted, or nearly 12 percent, according to the Daily Princetonian. The overall acceptance rate is 2 percent higher than the rate for the Class of 2007.

Princeton had a decrease in the number of applicants this year. In early March, Janet Rapelye, dean of admissions, told the newspaper that though the number of applicants to the Class of 2008 was down this year compared to the previous year, the number of "academic 1's" (students who received the highest possible rank on the admission office's scale that rates the academic quality of candidates) had increased while the number of weaker candidates had decreased.

A total of 1,050 students were admitted under the University's regular decision plan, nearly 9 percent of the 11,875 students who applied under regular decision. A total of 581, or 32 percent of the 1,815 students who applied under the University's early-decision program were admitted.

Of those admitted, 35 percent are from minority backgrounds and 11 percent are legacies. While the number of minorities remains unchanged, the number of legacies is up a slight 0.7 percentage points compared to the Class of 2007. Men, at 53 percent, make up a slightly larger portion of the class than women. A little over 9 percent of the students are from 50 foreign countries including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Morocco, Peru and Zambia. The Class of 2008 is targeted at 1,175 students.
[back to top]

Who's In at UC Berkeley? Included in the fall 2004 class of freshmen admitted to UC Berkeley this spring are students ranked nationally and internationally in horseback riding, ice skating and gymnastics; academic decathalon and debate team captains; fine artists and musicians; and winners of prestigious science competitions.

Out-of-state students represent 11 percent of next fall's admitted freshman class, up from 10 percent for fall 2003. International students represent 2 percent of the class.

Overall, UC Berkeley received 36,725 applications from California, out-of-state and international students. Comparing to fall 2003, this represents 195 fewer applicants. The overall admit rate was about 24 percent, up slightly from 2003. Campus officials anticipate that 3,610 of these students will enroll.

The number of black students offered admission has dropped from 298 students in 2003 to 211 for 2004. For Chicano/Latino students, the number has dropped from 1,030 in 2003 to 955 for 2004. American Indian numbers have dropped from 51 in 2003 to 40 for 2004.

Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl said the current figures are "just flat-out unacceptable." "I am profoundly saddened and disappointed that so many of these students, especially African American students, will not receive the exceptional education and experience that this public institution has to offer," he said.

At UC Berkeley, statistics also suggest there were fewer offers of admission to students from low-income families. This group typically attends lower performing high schools. Financial aid data show more than a 10 percent drop in admitted students who qualified for federal Pell grants. There also was a 13 percent decline in admitted students who qualified for the federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants reserved for students with exceptional financial need.

Women represent 55 percent of the class, the same as last year. Asian American students represent nearly 41 percent of the class compared to 40 percent for 2003; white students represent 36 percent of the class compared to 33 percent in 2003; Chicano/Latino students represent 11 percent of the class compared to 12 in 2003; African Americans represent a little over 2 percent of the class compared to nearly 4 percent in 2003; and American Indian students represent 0.5 percent of the class compared to 0.6 percent in 2003.

Detailed information on UC Berkeley's fall 2004 admission numbers is available online.

The California System at Large. The number of underrepresented students offered admission has dropped at most campuses in the University of California system. While university officials cannot explain this drop, they note associated factors include a drop in applications; state budget cuts along with proposed student fee increases; actual cuts in funding for outreach; and, overall, a more competitive pool of student applicants.

Northwestern U: Tougher Time. Even with 1,000 more applications for admission this year than last, Northwestern University accepted about 60 fewer students this year than last year, anticipating that more accepted students will accept their offer this year, according to The Daily Northwestern. NU accepted 4,760 applicants for the Class of 2008, down from 4,819 last year, for an expected class of 1,925.

Fewer students got in this year, and with higher quality as measured by standardized tests, officials said. The average SAT score for admitted students this year: 1434, compared to 1425 last year. This year, 15,575 students applied versus 14,515 last year and 14,800 in 2002. Early decisions increased as well. For the class of 2008, NU admitted 545 ED students from 1,112 applicants, up more than 100 over the previous year.

"Northwestern is hot," Keith Todd, NU's director of undergraduate admission, told The Daily Northwestern. "I think as the national admissions pool gets more and more competitive, that benefits us as well."

U. of Michigan. Applications are down somewhat at U. of Michigan. (See CB March 2004.) UM received 21,002 as of the end of March and to date have admitted 12,607. This compares to 2003 when it received 25,943 applications and admitted 13,052. The Summer/Fall 2004 freshman enrollment target is 5,545.

Michigan officials note that they are continuing to see an increase in the percentage of applications that come in via the web. Last year, it had received about half the applications online. This year, online applications were nearly 60 percent of the total. Applications from international students are down 12 percent when measured against the same time period last year.

Yale Record. Yale College fielded a record number of applications to the Class of 2008, while admitting a record low percent of applicants, according to the Yale Bulletin. This year, Yale attracted 19,674 and admitted 1,950, or 9.9 percent. Early action accounted for 670 of those students.

"It was our most competitive admissions cycle," said Richard H. Shaw, Jr., dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid. "The quality of applicants was outstanding."

Median SAT scores in both math and verbal were 750. About 55 percent of the admitted students came from public schools; 42 percent are minority students. About 40 percent of Yale undergrads receive financial aid; average grant, $21,500.

For the Record. Duke U. admitted 22 percent of the 16,702 applications this year. Duke admitted 3,679 applicants, including 500 early, for a class of 1,602 students. Duke admitted only 42 percent of the nearly 1,500 valedictorians applying this year and about two-thirds of the 1,000 applicants ranked in the top 10 in their class with scores 1500 or higher on the SAT.

See CB next month for more admissions stats.
[back to top]

Speaking of Summer....
With May flowers come thoughts of summer. Would students rather spend their summer mountaineering in Colorado, researching loggerhead turtles, learning Nepali in Kathmandu or working with a nuclear reactor? These are the choices posed in The Princeton Review's new book, The 500 Best Ways for Teens to Spend the Summer by Neill Seltzer; 390 pages; ISBN 0-375-76372; $17.95.

Summer Discovery. This summer, high school students can also discover life on eight college campuses throughout the U. S. and in Cambridge, England, and Sydney, Australia. For info see or call Summer Discovery at 516-621-3939; rolling admissions.

Summer Frenzy? College admission prep camps are the latest craze for college-bound students seeking an advantage, according to The New York Times, April 18, adding "No campfires. No hiking. Just hours a day of essay writing, SAT preparation, counseling, mock admission interviews." The Times identified three companies that are offering the new kind of camp experience: Academic Study Associates, Musiker Teen tours and Brighton.

For example, according to the Times, the Brighton program at UCLA and Tufts lasts nine days and costs $2,295. The Musiker programs costs $2,899 for 12 days at Northeastern or Georgetown, for example. The Academic Study Associates offers an 11-day program at Pepperdine, Amherst and Dartmouth for $2,695. The students and parents who went through the program last year told the Times they found the experience a positive one.

But the paper also quoted Bruce Poch, dean of admissions, Pomona C., who said, "I can't imagine how it's going to help, and it sounds like such a ridiculous waste of money that it distresses me that the parents would be so obsessive-compulsive."
[back to top]

May is National Scholarship Month!
AT THE AGE OF 13, Quinn Nystrom was diagnosed with diabetes. Once the reality sunk in, Nystrom spent the next few months getting her disease under control. She learned how to give herself insulin injections, which she does about six times a day. It wasn't long before she began to think of how she could use her knowledge and experience to help others and work toward finding a cure someday. Nystrom applied to be the National Youth Advocate for the American Diabetes Association. She was turned down the first time, but persevered and earned the honor in 2002. She has traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with senators and Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services. She was there last year when President Bush announced his health and fitness campaign.

Today, Nystrom is a senior at Brainerd High School in Minnesota, and one of the recipients of the 2004 national AXA Achievement Scholarships, sponsored by the AXA Foundation in association with U.S. News & World Report. It is open to all high school seniors who plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited two- or four-year college or university. (And AXA is also one of the sponsors of National Scholarship Month, an annual event each May organized by Scholarship America to raise awareness of the need for scholarships.)

AXA Financial, a nationwide financial services company with 67 branches, launched the AXA Achievement Scholarships in 2002. Quinn's career counselor told her to apply because AXA looks at community service and leadership qualities, in addition to academics. She plans to use the scholarship to attend Minnesota's Concordia College this fall and pursue a degree in public relations. In addition, she will be given a laptop computer and the opportunity for a paid internship with AXA Advisors in Minneapolis. According to Pamela Gee, program director, AXA Foundation, "Our scholarship winners are AXA Achievers ­ young people who have accomplished something special, who show the determination to set and reach goals."

The AXA Achievement Scholarship awards $10,000 scholarships to 52 students, one from each state, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. From this group of 52, 10 students are selected as national recipients and receive an additional $15,000. The program, funded by the AXA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AXA Financial, is administered by Scholarship Management Services, a program of Scholarship America. For more information see
[back to top]

The AXA Achievement Scholarship is one example of scholarships that are open to the general public. Some others include:

The USA Funds Access to Education Scholarships totaling nearly $6.5 million were awarded to 4,378 students for the 2003-2004 academic year. These scholarships are for low-income students and assist students from families with household incomes of $35,000 or less. The program is open to financially needy students who are high school seniors, undergraduates or graduate students. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents enrolled at least halftime in college. See

The Architectural Woodwork Institute Scholarship Program sponsored by the Architectural Woodwork Institute is open to high school seniors and undergraduates who plan to enroll or students who are already enrolled in a full- or part-time undergraduate course of study in the architectural woodworking field at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school. See

Kohl's Kids Who Care, sponsored by Kohl's Department Stores, Inc., is open to children ages 6 through 18 who reside in Kohl's Department Store communities. Kohl's Store consumers who nominate children for Kohl's Kids Who Care must be at least 21 years of age. (Kohl's Department Stores employees and family members of employees are ineligible.)

Mervyn's Scholarships, sponsored by Mervyn's and Target Corporation, is open to high school seniors only. Eligibility criteria and the application form are available at

ShopKo Scholars Awards, sponsored by ShopKo Stores, is open to high school seniors and undergraduates who plan to enroll or students who are already enrolled in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school. Applicants must be U. S. citizens living within 100 miles of a ShopKo store in one of the following states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. See

Simon Youth Foundation Community Scholarship, sponsored by Simon Youth Foundation, is open to high school seniors attending school and living in proximity of a Simon Property Mall or Community Center. See

Target All-Around Scholarship, sponsored by Target Corporation, is open to high school seniors and undergraduates who are U. S. citizens age 24 or younger. The scholarship is based primarily on community volunteer service. See

Tylenol Scholarship, sponsored by McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, is open to residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia who are high school seniors, undergraduates or graduate students majoring in a health-related field. See

For more info on national and local events for National Scholarship Month, see or Also, see U.S. News and World Report, April 19, for a special report on paying for college.
[back to top]

Garfield Joins ScholarShop
for Young Students
As part of National Scholarship Month, GARFIELD the cat is joining the ScholarShop program of Scholarship America that teaches students in grades 4-12 to set goals for their future and prepare for postsecondary education. It will use the Internet to reach students. Called ScholarShop's Options for Kids, it is an interactive, online program that helps fourth through sixth graders think about and plan for college.

In a game-like environment, GARFIELD helps kids discover such things as getting to know how they are smart; understanding how their interests relate to future jobs; increasing their awareness of postsecondary opportunities; and building the basic skills needed to reach their goals.

ScholarShop's Options for Kids will be available for free beginning in May via the Internet at and as a link from The Time Warner Foundation funded the program and it was developed by Hobsons, the makers of CollegeView, and in partnership with Paws, Inc., the creators of GARFIELD.
[back to top]

Marybeth Kravets and Imy F. Wax have added info on colleges for students with Attention Deficit Disorder in the 7th Edition of The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities. The 775-page reference is published by The Princeton Review; ISBN 0-375-76357; $27.

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education Weekly Bulletin is available at no charge by electronic mail. To sign up see and to subscribe to the printed newsletter e-mail

College Parents of America is expanding its membership to advocate nationally on behalf of college parents and to serve as a resource for parents as they go through the college application process. For info see:
[back to top]

Private Admission Doors? How effective are expensive private schools that often cost $20,000 a year or more to attend and prestigious, but free, public secondary schools at getting their seniors placed at the nation's elite colleges? What is the relation between money spent in preparation and the chances of admission?

The April 2 Wall Street Journal examined those issues by looking at how 66 private and public high schools did in getting their students admitted to 10 exclusive colleges (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, U. Pennsylvania, Cornell, Brown, Pomona, U. of Chicago, Duke).

The top ten high schools were: Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, N.Y., tuition $20,500, success rate, 41 percent; Winsor School, Boston, tuition $23,800, success rate, 39 percent; Trinity School, New York City, tuition $23,475, success rate, 37 percent; Horace Mann School, Riverdale, N.Y., tuition $24,500, success rate, 35 percent; Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., tuition $23,400, success rate, 30 percent.

Others included, Deerfield Academy, tuition $23.005, success rate, 30 percent; National Cathedral School, Washington, D.C., tuition $21,850, success rate, 30 percent; Dalton School, New York City, tuition $24,680, success rate, 30 percent; Hunter College High School, New York City, tuition, $0, success rate 28 percent; St. Paul's School, Concord, N.H., tuition $31,125, success rate 28 percent. An additional 28 free public schools were near the bottom of the list of 66 high performing high schools. For the complete list, see the WSJ.

A Look Inside One Admissions Office. The University of Chicago Chronicle recently took a look at the U. of C. admissions process. It noted personnel spent three months, 10 to 12 hours a day, reading more than 9,000 applications from high school seniors this year. "It's certainly the time of highest pressure for the staff," Ted O'Neill, dean of college admissions, said. "We have to go through an enormous amount of material in a short period of time."

All applications get a mandatory two readings, some times a third or fourth if there is a dispute, before a decision is rendered. In weekly meetings, admissions readers will get five minutes to pitch a candidate. Debates follow. "It can be a very emotional process," O'Neill revealed.

Disputed applicants often have their application read a second time by someone with expertise in their special area of strength. "You look at people with wildly different skills and talents," said Jenny Connell, assistant director of admissions, "and you try to put together the ensemble." That's far from easy.

In addition, U. of C. staff spends time on the phone with counselors or tracking down missing material, and responding to a flood of daily e-mails. The hardest debates are at the end of March and the end of the process, debating students who are the "close calls." O'Neill said, "It's a top-down process." The most-qualified get in first, then the process turns to the harder cases.

Stinging Rejections. The Washington Post account April 12 of the "stinging rejection" by elite colleges of local high school "stars" also notes that, throughout the country, many high school seniors and their parents are coping with another wave of unpleasant surprises that have become a part of the college application ritual." The Post quoted David Hawkins, director of public policy, the National Association for College Admission Counseling as saying, "The fact is that there are so many more kids in the pipeline." Hawkins sees no relief from the growing admission crush until at least 2011. The article further noted that applications at Colorado C. are up over 17 percent this year. They've soared 80 percent in the past four years at Kenyon C. in Ohio. But this year they fell 3 percent at Georgetown U. to 14,850, 80 percent of whom are not admitted.

Elite Colleges. More of today's colleges are "elite" in more than just their admissions practices, or perhaps because of their admissions practices, according to a new report by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. And more and more students from upper-income families are edging out those from the middle class, the report charges.

The trend results from both steep tuition increases of the past two decades and the high pressure college-bound environment in the nation's more prosperous families and high schools.

At 42 of the nation's most selective state universities, 40 percent of this year's incoming freshman class came from families making more than $100,000 a year, up from 32 percent in 1999.

At the nation's 250 most selective private and public colleges in 2000, 55 percent of the freshmen were from the upper quartile of family incomes, up from 46 percent in 1985. The losses came from the middle class. Only 33 percent of students came from the middle 50 percent.

What's to be done? According to an April 22, New York Times story, schools such as the U. of Maryland, U. of North Carolina, U. of Virginia are among the schools that have stopped asking its poorest students to take out loans, providing grants instead.
[back to top]

Where the National Merit Scholars Go. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation released its annual report of freshman Merit Scholars for fall 2003. The top ten colleges with the most scholars awarded National Merit Scholarship Corporation scholarships: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, Duke, U. of Pennsylvania, U. of California Berkeley, U. of Michigan Ann Arbor.

Grad School Rankings. The U.S. News and World Report list of top business, law and medical schools was released in April. Top five business schools: Harvard, Stanford, Penn (Wharton), MIT (Sloan), Northwestern (Kellogg). Law: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU. Medical: Harvard, Washington U., Johns Hopkins, Duke and Penn. Copies are available at your local newsstand.

Top Universities Balking at Rankings. The business schools at Harvard and U. of Pennsylvania announced that they would no longer provide as much information to ranking surveys as in the past, such as e-mail addresses of alumni, used in the evaluations of colleges surveyed by Business Week, Forbes, Financial Times, citing privacy concerns and costs. Other colleges may follow suit, according to The Wall Street Journal April 7 which does not use such information in its rankings. The universities say they will work with the Graduate Management Admissions Council to create a new database.

Canada's New Loans and Grants. The Canadian government has begun offering need-based grants, providing up to $2,250 for low-income students and grants of $1,500 for students with disabilities. In addition, it is increasing its loans programs to $158 a week, up from $124 a week. It is also beginning something called a "learning bond," $375 a year to help low-income parents save for their children's education. The government contributes $75 a year for 15 years.

[back to top]


COLLEGE BOUND's Publisher/Editor: R. Craig Sautter, DePaul University; Chief Operating Officer: Sally Reed; Contributors: Marc Davis; Chris Tisch; Circulation: Irma Gonzalez-Hider; Illustration: Louis Coronel; Board of Advisors: Rosita Fernandez-Rojo, Choate-Rosemary Hall; Claire D. Friedlander, Bedford (N.Y.) Central School District; Howard Greene, author, The Greenes' Guides to Educational Planning Series; Frank C. Leana, Ph.D., educational counselor; Virginia Vogel, Educational Guidance Services; M. Fredric Volkmann, Washington University in St. Louis, Mary Ann Willis, Bayside Academy (Daphne, Ala.).



In This Issue

Feature Articles
Spring Spot Check
on Admissions

Speaking of Summer....

May is National Scholarship

Garfield Joins ScholarShop
for Young Students

-The K&W Guide to Colleges
for Students with Learning

-The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education Weekly Bulletin
-College Parents of America

-Private Admission Doors?
-A Look Inside One Admissions

-Stinging Rejections
-Elite Colleges

-Where the National Merit
Scholars Go

-Grad School Rankings
-Top Universities Balking at

-Canada's New Loans and Grants

To place your advanced order for copies of the 18th annual edition of Who Got In? 2004 COLLEGE BOUND's National Survey of College Admissions Trends, available later this spring, send a check or purchase order to COLLEGE BOUND, PO Box 6536, Evanston, IL 60204; call 773-262-5810 or see (CB now has Paypal available on its web site for credit card orders and renewals.)


  Home | About Us | Subscribe/Renew | Contact Us | Current Issues | Back Issues | Visitors | Who Got In? | Links/Resources

Privacy Policy/Terms of Service

All Rights Reserved.