Andover Receives Record-High Number of 2250 Applications; Acceptance Rate Drops 1% to 20%

It is that time of year again: the Admissions Office is done with decisions and now it is their turn to anxiously await replies from the 229th incoming class to Phillips Academy. 2,250 applications circulated through Shuman Admission Center, a 5% increase from 2,136 applications in 2005. The admission decisions were mailed out on March 10. When asked about how she felt about the applicant pool this year, Acting Dean of Admissions Deborah Murphy ’86 said, “As in past years, there were athletes, musicians, thespians, and others who are passionate in math, in history…We are eager to continue to fuel the program here at Andover.” The Academy admitted 449 of the 2,250 applicants, an acceptance rate of 20%. Last year, the acceptance rate was 21%, a highly competitive statistic among boarding schools. The number of people who decide to matriculate at Andover varies from year to year, but remains relatively consistent; the predictions of the Admissions Office are generally accurate. In 2005, the yield rate was 74% and in 2004, it was 73%. The Admissions Office calculates predictions based on the yield rates from past years. This year, they believe the yield rate will be close to 73%. Andover receives one of the highest numbers of applications in the nation, combined with one of the very lowest acceptance rates and the highest yield rate. Andover is one of the most competitive schools in the U.S. In regards to the competition in Andover admissions, Ms. Murphy said, “Every student at Andover should be proud that they are here.” Every year, the Admissions Office compares Andover and Exeter’s overlapped admittances. For the past 15 years, Andover has consistently had more matriculations. The process of assessing the applications this year was similar to last year. Every prospective student had a file which five members of the admission committee reviewed. The first two readings were by faculty members, the third one by the interviewer, the fourth one by the class officer, and the last one by Dean of Admissions Jane Fried. Additionally, faculty from other departments such as music or athletics assessed the files as well. “The process is very thorough and personal. We read every file regardless of grades and scores,” said Mrs. Murphy. Applicants are assessed in three basic categories: academic, extracurricular, and personal quality. The admissions officers look for strengths in all three categories, not necessarily students who are at the top in every category. The admissions team also looks for a “hook,” as they call it. A “hook” is an area in which a student has succeeded before and should continue to succeed once at Andover. This allows the student to immerse themselves in the community upon entrance. In terms of financial aid, Phillips Academy has a budget of $11.7 million in grants and $500 thousand in loans, the highest amongst prep schools. However, Andover does not have a fully needs-blind policy; rather, Andover is “needs sensitive.” The admission officers try to read applications without looking at financial situations. However, there is a point when the budget is overspent and some cannot be admitted for financial reasons. According to Mrs. Murphy, the number of such students is usually around twenty. The school is eager to continue to raise money for financial aid in order to decrease the number of students who the school cannot afford to take each year.However, she also stresses that the students in a better financial standing who are admitted over the students in a poorer financial standing are no less qualified. With a motto of “Youth from every quarter,” Andover has always tried to create a very diverse community in every aspect of the word. To keep diversity at a maximum, members of the Admissions Office travel all over the country and the world to educate students about the opportunities at Andover. This year, students were admitted from 38 different states, 1 U.S. territory ( the Virgin Islands), and 22 countries. As always, there will be spring visits this year, which start on Friday March 31 and end Friday April 7. About 300 of the 449 acceptees are expected to attend.