Continuing a decade-long pattern of increased competition in the admissions process, 2008 marked a record-high in applicants to the University.

Out of the 8,250 students who applied, 2,245 were accepted. This acceptance rate of 27 percent was the same as last year, and upholds the University’s status as one of the most selective schools in the nation. The 721 students who decided to matriculate now comprise a class whose profile maintains trends of geographic and racial diversity, as well as academic rigor.

The large applicant pool of 2008 represents a 6 percent increase from the previous year, and a 44 percent growth over the past 10 years. Dean of Admissions Nancy Hargrave Meislahn suggested that the record-high number of applicants to the 2012 class could be at least partially attributed to increased University outreach beyond the Northeastern region of the United States.

Perhaps as a result of this effort, 79 percent of the class of 2012 lives outside of New England. Meislahn stressed that this increased demographic diversity affects the profile of not only this incoming class, but also the geographic distribution of classes to come.

“This is important in terms of the results in this class, but even more so when looking forward to the changing demographics in the United States,” Meislahn said.

In addition to hailing from various parts of the nation, the class of 2012 also contains a large international contingent, with 11 percent residing outside of the United States. This is a 1 percent increase in a category that has been steadily increasing over the past three years.

Fifty countries in total are represented among these international freshmen, including Myanmar, New Zealand, Ethiopia and Swaziland. Additionally, 36 members of the class of 2012 have dual citizenship with the United States.

“This class has the largest international contingent and representation ever,” Meislahn said. “We can truly say our new students come from ’all over the world.’”

In addition to maintaining geographic diversity, this year’s incoming class also sustains racial diversity similar to that of recent years. As in the past two years, 15 percent of enrolled students identify themselves as Asian or Asian-American. The percentage of freshmen identifying as African American dropped one point from last year, to 8 percent, while the percentage of Latino students showed the reverse trend, increasing from 8 percent to 9 percent.

Median SAT scores remained constant in both the verbal and math sections at 700, as they have for the past four years, while the median score of the newest section of the SAT, writing, dropped 10 points to 700. While high school seniors sometimes feel reduced to these three numbers, the Admissions Office maintains that these scores are not particularly paramount in its decision. In a profile the Admissions Office puts out each fall, academic achievement and curiosity is emphasized over standardized test scores.

“Rank in Class and ACT or SATI&II are generally quite strong but more telling in our assessment are the academic program and teacher recommendations,” the profile reads.

Perhaps reflective of this attitude, a majority of this year’s incoming freshman class completed vigorous high school academic programs. 74 percent took math through calculus, and 79 percent took biology, chemistry and physics—both percentages have varied only a few points since 2004. Additionally, 78 percent of this year’s class took a foreign language through level IV, representing an 8 percent increase from 2004 statistics.

While some universities have recently decided to get rid of Early Decision (ED) programs, it remains a significant factor at Wesleyan, with 8 percent of all applicants applying ED, and ED applicants comprising 40 percent of the incoming class.

Fourteen percent of enrolled students are the first in their generation to attend a four-year college, the same as last year, and a two percent increase from 2006. In a 3 percent increase from last year, 41 percent of the class of 2012 receives financial aid.

While each of these statistics provides insight into this year’s freshman class, Meislahn suggests that the next four years will truly illuminate the personality and uniqueness of the class of 2012.

“I am particularly proud of the combination of excellent academic preparation and extraordinary life experiences that these students bring to our community,” Meislahn said. “It is going to be exciting—and gratifying—to see how these individuals make their mark at Wes.”

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