Regular Decision results for the class of 2024 were released on March 25. Of the 12,752 applications the University received, 19.8%, or 2,531 students, were accepted. While the University has seen an upward trend in the number of applicants in recent years, the applicant pool for the class of 2024 was slightly smaller than in previous years. This year marks a significant increase in the University’s acceptance rate, compared to last year’s 15.8%.
The number of Early Decision applicants to the University also decreased slightly, with 1,005 students applying early, compared to last year’s 1,118. 424 of these students were accepted, making up 17% of admission offers. Like in recent years, more female students were admitted to the class of 2024. A total of 41% of admitted students are male, and 59% female.
Forty-nine percent of admitted students are students of color (including international students), an increase from last year’s 44%. Thirteen percent of admitted students are the first in their family to attend college. Additionally, the University will be providing financial aid for 45% of admitted students, a slight decrease from last year’s 48%.
The University also saw a decrease in the number of international students admitted. International students will make up 10% of this year’s class, compared to 14% of the class of 2023.
The Office of Admission is hoping for a first-year class of about 785 students. However, there are concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the number of incoming students.
“There are no yield prediction models that account for pandemics of this type,” Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Amin Gonzalez ’96 said. “So it’s hard to know right now, what’s going to happen with enrollment in the weeks ahead.”
Gonzalez attributes the increase in the University’s acceptance rate to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“The decision to admit more mission appropriate and qualified students in this uncertain climate was deliberate to guard against potential attrition over time due to COVID-19 and/or other institutions poaching students committed to Wes post our deposit deadline of May 1,” Gonzalez wrote in an email to The Argus.
The decrease in international student acceptance is also a result of COVID-19, according to Gonzalez.
“Fewer international students were admitted in part because we recognized that, given evolving circumstances including the closing of U.S. Embassies abroad, many would have considerable difficulty finding their way to Wes,” Gonzalez wrote in an email to The Argus.
While other U.S. universities have extended their decision deadline to June 1, the University’s Office of Admission has decided to keep its May 1 deadline. However, they are willing to extend that deadline on a case by case basis.
“We gave it serious consideration and ultimately decided we would hold the May 1 date, but be clear and communicative with families about being flexible in light of extenuating circumstances,” Gonzalez said. “We are holding the May 1 deadline for now. If situations change dramatically, we can certainly revisit the deadline for undecided admitted students but right now we’re working with individual families.”
The Office of Admission is also aware of that COVID-19 could possibly affect future admissions. In particular, students may be unable to submit standardized test scores, as most spring testing dates have been canceled due to COVID-19.
Gonzalez, however, doesn’t see these cancellations as much of an issue, since the University is test-optional.
“Because we are a test-optional school, we expect there will be an uptick in students who exercise that option and take advantage of that opportunity,” Gonzalez said. “Some other schools have used this situation as an opportunity to move in the test-optional direction. In this challenging climate, we’re not going to expect students to submit ACTs or SATs.”
Gonzalez also recognizes that many high schools have transitioned into a universal pass/fail grading system, which could pose problems for college admissions in the future.
“Many secondary schools have moved to pass/fail for the term,” Gonzalez said. “For graduating seniors, this shift is not likely to be consequential, but certainly for prospective students who were trending up and really finding their stride, this change might be disappointing.”
Gonzalez explained that the Office of Admission will be understanding and accommodating of all students.
“My personal philosophy and commitment is to try very hard not to disadvantage students for things that are beyond their control,” Gonzalez said. “Of course, that’s not always possible because there are circumstances that impact them whether or not they have control. As admission deans, we just have to stay nimble and try to be appropriately accommodating, but we work with real constraints of time and other considerations. We’ll do everything in our power to work through these challenges but can’t guarantee that we’ll have this all sorted out by May 1.”
As for admitted students, Gonzalez recognizes that final year transcripts will probably be sent to the University later than expected. The Office of Admission has no plans to delay enrollment based on that.
“We’re going to appropriately support the students we admitted for their varied achievements, talents, and potentials,” Gonzalez said.
Hannah Docter-Loeb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.