Office of Admissions Admits 448 New Students, Reports Six Percent Increase in Applications

Over spring break, the Office of Admissions sent letters of acceptance to 448 students in places ranging from Nigeria to New York. This year 2,135 people applied to Phillips Academy, a six percent increase from last year. Twenty-one percent of applicants were accepted, the same percentage as last year. Of the students admitted, 224 are male and 224 are female. Boarding students accounted for 366 members of accepted students, while 88 of the admitted applicants were day students. Two hundred twenty-seven people were admitted into next fall’s Junior class, the class of 2009. The admissions office also sent acceptance letters to 105 prospective new Lowers, 28 new Uppers, and seven new Seniors, as well as 31 Post-Graduate students. The 448 accepted students hail from 38 different states and 23 foreign countries. International students comprise 11 percent of admitted students. “One thing we’ve been trying to do in Admissions is broaden our geographic diversity,” said Dean of Admissions Jane Fried. “To do that, we’ve done more extensive recruitment-based traveling to the northwest, midwest, and southeast regions of the country.” The admissions office reported a significant increase in the number of accepted students from the states of Colorado, Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada. To “make room” for the students from these states, fewer students from Massachusetts and New York were accepted. “Massachusetts, New York, and California are still our top three states in terms of acceptances, but by decreasing the numbers from those states, we were able to broaden the scope,” said Ms. Fried. The foreign countries with the greatest increase in acceptances were Japan, with six, and Singapore, with five. Students from Nicaragua, Nigeria, Kenya, the Netherlands, and the West Indies also received acceptance letters. “These are new, exciting areas for us,” said Mrs. Fried. Twelve percent of accepted students are either first-generation Americans or new immigrants who are not yet citizens. Phillips Academy was harder to get into this year than in previous years. The median SSAT score was in the 95th percentile; last year it was in the 93rd percentile. “When people ask about the strength of the applicant pool, it’s hard to answer. Are the scores good? Yes, but I look at it broader than that; the pool was deep in terms of other talents as well,” reports Ms. Fried. The admissions office reports individuals strong in music, writing, art, and math in this round of acceptances. “Oh yes, it was a great year for math!” Ms. Fried added. Chances of admission are increased for “legacies,” or students with relatives who attended the school. “You’ll find that for students with no ties to the school, the acceptance rate is slightly lower than the overall figure of 21 percent. For students with a sibling at the school or who have some other tie to the school, the rate is slightly higher that 21 percent, and for the sons and daughters of alumni, the rate is even higher,” said Ms. Fried. “It’s important to note, however, that in those students, we also see higher median GPA’s and SSAT scores. We see the relationships, but it’s certainly not the deciding factor.” All 2,135 applications are read and reviewed by at least four people. The first is a member of the faculty, the second is the student’s interviewer, the third is the member of the admissions staff who is the “class officer” of the grade for which the student is applying. Lastly, Ms. Fried reads every application. If a student’s application shows an area of interest outside the faculty reader’s specialty, he or she will often pass the application on to an additional faculty reader. “The faculty is always very involved and very interested in who’s coming here,” said Ms. Fried. Additional pieces of information are analyzed by various members of the Andover community. Ms. Fried explained, “Coaches will come in to look at a runner’s times… music teachers listen to tapes… [Instructor in Mathematics] Mr. [Donald] Barry explains math contest results. They then fill out a sheet telling us how strong these works are. These coaches aren’t telling us if this squash player is admissible, just whether or not he’s a good squash player.” She continued, “Our job here is two-fold: we assess the talents of students, and how well matched they are to the school; and secondly, we look at what the needs of the school are, and make sure, as best as possible, that all the campus programs will be full and flourishing.” One thousand eight hundred fifty students participated in on-campus interviews this year, a 12 percent increase from last year. An additional 670 students interviewed with traveling admissions representatives or alumni interviewers. The Admissions Office anticipates a 70-73 percent yield on admission to matriculation. Ms. Fried concluded, “It’s been a pretty exciting year in Admissions. We were working right up to March 10 and are still working, but we’re pleased with what we’ve come up with.”