Emory received a record number of applications for its incoming class and accepted a lower percentage of applicants than last year, keeping with the trends at top universities across the country.
Interim Dean of Admissions Jean Jordan could not give an exact acceptance rate for this year, but she wrote in an e-mail to the Wheel that Emory College admitted around 26 percent of applicants for the class of 2011, a 5.5 percent drop from last year.
Applications rose to 15,373 this year, an 8 percent increase from last year's 14,222.
Jordan wrote that the selection process had been "much tougher" than before.
"[We had] a larger group of applicants, an academically stronger group of applicants in every way - geographically, ethnically and in terms of their interests, experiences and backgrounds," she wrote.
Assistant Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Daniel Walls, formerly the dean of admissions, wrote that Emory College had an "extraordinary admission year in terms of quality and volume."
Walls wrote that Emory Advantage, the University's newly revamped, need-based financial aid package, had a positive impact on this year's admissions.
Emory is following the same trend as the nation's other elite institutions like the Ivies and Stanford, all of which receive more and more applications each year and accept lower and lower percentages of students.
But Emory's selectivity has increased by much larger margins than those at other schools. For the class of 2011, Harvard and Columbia colleges reported all-time low admission rates of nine and 8.9 percent, respectively, but last year they accepted 9.3 percent and 9.6 percent of applicants, respectively.
Meanwhile, Emory in the last three years has gone from accepting 36 percent to 26 percent of applicants.
Walls wrote that the increased selectivity has led to a more holistic approach when evaluating candidates.
"Subjective information (essays, recommendations, leadership, potential contributions to the Emory community, etc.) have come to play a much more critical role in selection," he wrote. "Each year, there are students offered admission who may not have 'all the numbers,' but who demonstrate other impressive characteristics and who gain admission. Conversely, there are candidates with high test scores and grade point averages who are not offered admission.
"The amount of time the Admission Committee spends carefully evaluating applicants for admission represents a grueling schedule that demands much personal sacrifice," he added.
Walls explained that most applicants to Emory meet the academic requirements and achieve high standardized test scores.
"If [grades and scores] were the only criteria, it would be almost impossible to select a class," he wrote.
But the Admissions Committee evaluates candidates in part on standardized tests because that provides a "nationally normed indicator" not vulnerable to some secondary schools' grade inflation and their "wide variation in rigor," Walls wrote.
"Our research indicates that when test scores, grades and strength of program are all factored together, we have the best indicator of how a student will perform academically at Emory," Walls wrote.
Jordan expects to have the number of enrollees and the demographic data of the class of 2011 by May 1.
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