PA Admits Under 20% Of Largest Ever Applicant Pool

On March 10, Andover’s Admission Office sent out acceptance letters to 451 out of 2,300 applicants for the 2007-2008 academic year. The newly admitted students represent the tops of their respective classes and make up less than 20 percent of the largest applicant pool in Andover’s history. They demonstrate academic excellence, athletic ability, leadership capability, and many other diverse talents. The majority of the admitted students represent the top five percent of their class academically. The median SSAT total score was in the 94th percentile. Twenty-five percent of the admitted students said they liked math, computers, or both, while 28 percent declared a strong interest in science. Other students demonstrated talent in writing, acting, dancing, music and art. This year’s prospective students give Andover’s creed “youth from every quarter” a whole new meaning. Nineteen percent of the admitted students consider themselves Asian or Asian American; 10 percent say they are Black or African American and five percent identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino, while two percent classify themselves as Native American. The prospective students represent 20 different countries, including Zimbabwe, Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Germany, France and China. The incoming group of students is a diverse and motivated group. According to the PA Admissions website for newly admitted students, one particular student, inspired by her passion to serve others, coordinated a group of students to each reading and writing to young children in a neighboring city every week. Another student from Thailand is involved in volunteering for the Paralympics in addition to the tsunami relief in Southeast Asia. The Admissions office also accepted a long-distance runner who is also a juggler and a composer who has written music, including electronic jazz, new age, and rock, since he was eight years old. He expressed great interest in taking Dr. Peter Warsaw’s music theory course, as well as starting a juggling club at Andover. “We are accustomed to reading applications from very talented students, and yet, this year’s class can be characterized as having an extraordinary ability ‘to see beyond themselves and to go beyond the familiar,’” said Dean of Admissions Jane Fried. As a result of the efforts of the Board of Trustees to make the Andover education more affordable, the Admissions office has seen a 33 percent increase in the number of applicants since 1996. After adopting the Strategic Plan, which included a challenge to work toward a “need-blind” admissions process, in 2004, the Board has promised to increase the amount of money available for financial aid. Over the past several fiscal years, financial aid has increased by nearly $1 million each year. According to Senior Associate Dean of Admissions Deborah Murphy, the Strategic Plan also allowed the admissions counselors to increase travel funding by 40 percent, allowing for more interviews and informational sessions for boarding school applicants. An increase in the information provided for prospective students contributed to an increased number of applicants. During a recent meeting, the Board of Trustees approved another financial aid increase of approximately $900,000 over the $11.7 million awarded last year. Phillips Academy granted $4.1 million from the $12.8 million financial aid budget to 173 newly admitted students, which represents over 38 percent of the prospective students. Currently, 10 percent of the student body attends the school on full scholarship and another 41 percent receives some form of financial aid. The Admissions website has several new features for prospective students, including a list of the top ten reasons why the newly admitted students should choose Andover. The Admissions office held a competition before Spring break, inviting students to submit ideas for the list as well as short essays explaining their favorite aspects of Andover. The website also consists of several links to other pages like the Student Journal, written by four current students, an information page about Andover, and a site with opportunities to contact current students, including Student Council President Danny Silk ’07. The website also includes a welcome note written by Mrs. Fried. In her note, Mrs. Fried encouraged prospective students to attend Andover by listing several facts about the Andover community and the opportunities available at the school. “If you come to visit the campus, you will feel the warmth and friendliness of our students and faculty. Visitors are often pleasantly surprised to find that the atmosphere here, though academically very rigorous, is socially rather casual…[Students] place great value on personal relationships formed during their time here and on the lessons learned both in and out of the classroom. If you are a bright young person in search of a vibrant, engaging community, you will find it at Andover,” she said. Spring Visits start today, March 30, and will continue through the beginning of April. The last day of Spring visits takes place on April 9, the day before the prospective students must decide whether or not to join the Andover community.