For 929 teenagers worldwide, Monday April 1st will bring more than silly pranks and wacky jokes. It will bring an acceptance letter to Swarthmore College. Regular admissions decisions were sent out Tuesday morning, concluding a reading season that started when the first applications were submitted in December.
According to Jim Bock, vice president and dean of admissions, the college saw a record 6,614 applicants, up from 6,589 last year. Applicants hailed from 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and a slew of foreign countries including distant Mongolia and Bhutan. Overall, the number of applicants without US citizenship increased by 18 percent, said Bock, as did the number of applications from the states of Arizona and Washington. The most popular intended major of applicants was Engineering, continuing a trend from last year.
The number of students admitted, coincidentally, turned out to be the same as last year, although the Admissions Office hopes to yield a class of around 391, slightly more than in previous years. “We want to be at capacity and we are always replacing the leaving senior class,” said Bock. “If you go under capacity it’s less revenue. If you go over it’s a housing crisis.”
In the past, the college has been able to yield fairly close to their goal, however Bock did recall one year where the incoming class was overenrolled by 40 students, and another when it was under-enrolled by 75. “There’s always the joke, ‘What if all 929 say yes?’,” said Bock, although he does not expect that will happen. He also stressed the importance of yielding. A notable part of the yielding process are accepted student events such as Ride the Tide, the accepted students visiting program that will be held April 18-19. Ride the Tide offers prospective students an opportunity to engage in such activities as late night soccer with Dean Bock, meetings with cultural and student groups, faculty and alumni panels, and the Student Activities Fair. Beyond all of the activities on campus, prospective students also get to meet each other as well as current Swatties.
“I would say, anecdotally, the thing that brings kids in most has more to do with the unstructured, spur of the moment conservations they have with current students,” said Christine Costello, associate dean of admissions, who is in charge of planning the event. Costello also noted that the importance of Ride the Tide lies in allowing accepted students to feel like Swarthmore students for a day. “We want to be able to showcase who Swarthmore is to the students,” she said.
The students seemed to share the same mentality and spirit in their applications as did those from previous years, according to Bock. “Every year, we see the commitment to doing good, especially in the ‘Why Swarthmore?’ essays,” he said.
For now everyone will just have to wait and see which of those 929 will continue to do good next fall here at Swarthmore.