In The New York Times’ The Choice blog’s recently released application tally for 2013, Wesleyan was reported to have had a 4.18 percent increase in applications this year. University admissions officers reported a higher increase.
According to Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Nancy Meislahn and Senior Associate Dean of Admission Gregory Pyke, the Office of Admissions received a total of 10,969 applications, a 4.5 percent increase from last year. The office received 940 Early Decision (ED) I and II applications, 12 percent more than last year.
According to Meislahn and Pyke, the larger pool of ED applicants meant a slightly smaller percentage of students accepted from that pool this year compared to previous years.
“Forty-two percent were admitted [ED,] (just under the average for the last 4 years),” Meislahn and Pyke wrote in an email to The Argus.
The news of the rise in applications has been welcomed in the Office of Admissions.
“This is great!” Meislahn and Pyke wrote. “We continue to reach out domestically and internationally to spread the word… and the strength in the pool is particularly exciting as it reflects so many Wesleyan priorities.”
President Roth reacted similarly, applauding the University’s ability to stay relevant in what he sees as a time of shifting priorities.
“At a time when you hear many people arguing that higher education should be more vocational and that the liberal arts are not relevant, applications to Wesleyan are going up,” Roth wrote in an email to The Argus from Editor and New Media Writer Lauren Rubenstein.
Some students who were accepted ED I or II for the Class of 2017 believe that the increase suggests an increase in interest in the University.
“I think the increase in applications is awesome; Wesleyan is a wonderful school and already very selective, so the increase in applications just signifies that more people are beginning to agree with me,” wrote Evelysse Vargas ’17, a high school senior who was admitted ED II, in an email to The Argus.
The increase in applications might also discourage some applicants from applying to the University next year, as it makes the process more competitive for prospective students.
“The increase of applications was a little daunting and made me a little nervous, but I knew it was definitely a good sign since it means more people want to go to Wes,” said Andrea Vargas ’17.
According to The Choice, the application pools in other schools also fluctuated. Skidmore College announced a drastic 42.41 percent increase of applications, and some other schools reported a drop in application rates, including Vassar College, which reported a negative 3.89 percent change.
“From what we read and what we hear, peer schools are reporting a range of ups and downs,” Meislahn and Pyke wrote.
Though the University’s admission policy has technically been changed to be need-aware, Meislahn and Pyke stated that ED decisions effectively remained need-blind this year.
President Roth expressed his excitement over the formation of a new class of University students.
“It’s great news that more and more students from across the country and around the world want to come to Wesleyan, and it suggests they agree with our contention that there is no better preparation for doing useful and meaningful work than the kind of liberal arts education we provide,” Roth wrote through Rubenstein. “I’m excited to meet the next class of bright, talented and intellectually curious Wesleyan students!”