Class of 2010 Finalizes College Decisions

After the grueling college counseling process filled with essays, interviews and standardized testing, members of the Phillips Academy Class of 2010 have enrolled in 102 different colleges they will attend next year. Among the selections are ten schools where Phillips Academy students have previously never matriculated. Anne Ferguson, Director of College Counseling, noted that the average number of colleges that each Senior applied to increased. Last year seniors applied, on average, to 8.8 colleges and this year 9.4 schools. The Class of 2010 applied to 270 different colleges total. Ferguson said, “Overall I’d say our students were admitted in about the same percentages as they have been year after year. However we did see some colleges where the volume of applications increased dramatically, specifically Brown and Duke, so automatically it means they’re going to be tougher to get in to.” This year’s matriculation rates saw a slight decrease since the 2008-2009 year in the number of students matriculating to Ivy League schools, and an overall increase in the number of students matriculating to schools abroad and military academies. Geographic distribution within the United States divided relatively evenly between colleges in New England and colleges in the West, the Midwest and the South. A total of sixty-two students from the class of 2010 will matriculate to Ivy League institutions. Within the Ivy League schools, matriculation to Yale University, Dartmouth College and Brown University increased, while matriculation to Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania decreased. The number of students matriculating to Brown, 12, is the highest since 2006. Ferguson said the number of applicants to Brown this year increased by over twenty percent. The most dramatic decrease in matriculation among the Ivy League schools was to Cornell. Last year nine seniors enrolled at Cornell, while this year only three students enrolled. Additionally, thirteen students matriculated to Princeton last year, and only six will be attending the school from the Class of 2010. The school with the largest number of Phillips Academy students matriculating is Yale University with 15 students. Matriculation to Dartmouth has been steadily increasing over the years, with 8 Andover students enrolling this year. Outside of the Ivy League schools, matriculation to other large colleges, such as Carnegie Mellon University, John Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Middlebury College, decreased by at least two students per school since last year. In particular, only one student has enrolled at Carnegie Mellon in contrast to the seven students who enrolled last year. Six students will go abroad for higher education, to either Great Britain or Canada. Two students from the Class of 2010 will attend the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy, in comparison to zero last year. Total matriculation to an art school or music conservatory has also increased since last year. Five students from the Class of 2010 will attend an art school or a college of music. “We had three students admitted to a highly competitive Juilliard-Columbia program, that was unusual for us. But, we always have students apply to conservatories and strong music programs,” said Ferguson. Ferguson said, “I think [the thing that was] sort of disturbing was colleges, because of the economy, have been paying a lot of attention to who is applying for financial aid. They’re paying more attention than they had in the last few years.” Schools have started reducing their loan-free financial aid plans and have instead begun to implement a system of gapping, which is to provide only a portion of the total funding an individual would need to go to college. Ferguson said, “[Financial aid related actions] were the most disturbing thing from this year because if you need money to go to college, how can you go to college if you’re expected to pay an additional amount of money?” At least two more students from the Class of 2010 than from the Class of 2009 will attend Amherst College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, George Washington University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Trinity College. The number of students attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill increased from one student last year to four students this year. Among states outside of New England, California attracted the most students. Ten students will matriculate at University of California, Berkley, University of California at Los Angeles, Occidental College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College and University of Southern California. Some students of the Class of 2010 have chosen to attend single-sex, technical or religiously affiliated institutions. Three girls from the Class of 2010 will attend single-sex institutions, including Barnard College, Smith College and Scripps College. Eight students total will attend technical institutes or engineering schools, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Six students will attend a religiously affiliated college such as the Holy Cross College. The process is not yet complete for some students. Many students are still being admitted from waitlists. Ferguson said, “I think we have seen a trend for some colleges to not to deny very many students but instead to simply put them on waiting lists. There are highly competitive colleges that are reporting that they are putting thousands of students on waitlists.” “To put a thousand or two thousand students on a waiting list and then take maybe fifty of them doesn’t quite seem very humane,” she said.