On March 23, regular decision admission results were sent out to the applicants for the class of 2016. This was the most selective class in the University’s history, with an acceptance rate of 19.7 percent.
“This is now the fourth year that applications have been over 10,000,” noted Senior Associate Dean of Admission Gregory Pyke. “While I think a lot of people have come to see it as the new normal for us to be at this level of interest among strong students, historically it’s still a pretty amazing place for Wesleyan to be.”
Because more students enrolled than was expected for the class of 2015, the Office of Admission lowered the acceptance rate this year from 23.3 percent to 19.7 percent in order to maintain the target goal of 745 students per class. This year, 2,073 students were accepted out of 10,503 applicants, while last year 2,339 students were accepted out of 10,033 applicants with 815 students matriculating.
Pyke also expressed the importance of the waiting list, which the Office of Admission was unable to draw from last year. He noted that the Office of Admission attempts to draw from the list for approximately five to six percent of the class. According to Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Nancy Meislahn, the University employs the waiting list for different reasons than other schools.
“We believe that the waiting list should be a very real part of the process,” Meislahn said. “I think there are some schools that have a different philosophy. Our waiting list is meant to be active; we expect to be able to use it.”
This year, 37 percent of the admits are students of color, 15 percent are first-generation college students, 8 percent are international students, and 12 percent have relatives that are University students or alumni.
“Those [statistics] are all measures of social and linguistic and, by implication, religious and ethnic diversity as well,” Pyke said. “We’ll know in early May what we’re happiest with, what’s missing this year. It’ll be another month before we know.”
Pyke and Meislahn expressed satisfaction with the diversity of admitted students on all fronts. Along with the number of applications from New England and New York decreasing this year, the percent of admits from outside New England increased to 85 percent, up three percent from last year.
“That’s a function of the demographics in the U.S.,” Meislahn said. “We know that there are fewer students graduating from schools in this part of the country while there’s the shift to more students in high school in big states like Texas, Florida, and California. Those are still growing markets for Wes.”
In an effort to increase the geographic diversity on campus, the Office of Admission has been working to mobilize alumni nationally and internationally. According to Pyke and Meislahn, the office has also been working on increasing the variety of applicants.
“In terms of what we generated in applications and who we were able to admit, I think we are in great shape—we have been able to meet so many priorities,” Meislahn said. “The people behind these numbers have really interesting backgrounds and stories.”