Acceptances Up at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton; No Other Obvious Trends

Although many Seniors expressed dissatisfaction with the college process, and many on campus believed that PA had lower admit rates this year, admit rates at the most selective Ivy League colleges – Harvard, Princeton, and Yale – actually increased. Nonetheless John Anderson, Director of College Counseling, said, “What used to be considered safety schools aren’t that safe anymore.” Harvard admitted 6% more applicants from the class of 2006, while Princeton accepted 9% more PA students. Although Yale reached a record low general admittance rate for the Ivy League at 8.6%, it admitted 20% of PA applicants – an increase of 2% from 2005. Admission rates at Brown and Dartmouth also fell, however they both accepted 3% more students from the Academy. But not all colleges accepted more Andover students. MIT, with a record low general admittance rate of 13%, saw the largest decrease in acceptances from PA, falling from 45% to 31% of applicants. Cornell admissions also fell sharply, from 47% to 34%. The University of Pennsylvania (U Penn) had the most significant drop in its overall admissions rate, falling 3.1% to 17.7%, and the Seniors suffered from it; U Penn accepted 12% fewer students than in 2005. Mr. Anderson attributed these notable decreases to the burgeoning number of students applying to “colleges in the upper-middle range of competition.” He said that “students who are adventuresome in their college search [and look outside the Northeast] will probably fare the best [in the process].” Although an article in The New York Times on March 21, 2006 noted a trend toward students applying to larger numbers of colleges, PA’s average number of applications was 7.9 and has remained constant over the past two years. However, a “small” number of students did apply to 15 or more colleges, according to Mr. Anderson. The SAT scoring mistake affected 10 students at Andover, but did not harm them in the admissions process; nine of the ten students had insignificant changes of 10-20 points, while the one with a more substantial difference of 100 points had already gained admission to her preferred college. An op-ed piece in The New York Times on 23 March 2006 by Jennifer Britz, an admissions officer at Kenyon College, pointed to the escalating number of females applying to colleges. Since colleges are unwilling to have an uneven ratio of girls to boys, Ms. Brtiz argues that the process has become unjustly more difficult for women. The College Counseling Office has not yet split the admissions statistics by gender. Mr. Anderson did observe a rise in competition at most of the schools, despite Andover’s success. Yet he noted that the growing competition has also forced many schools to re-evaluate and improve their curriculums and campuses as a component of their “aggressive marketing” campaigns to attract Seniors. Mr. Anderson also said that as competition increases, most colleges have begun to heed class rankings; however, Andover does not rank its students. “I would encourage students to…consider…‘diamonds in the rough’ [colleges] that might not be household names but offer great opportunities, eve on the West coast.”