Applicant pool breaks College records

As reported recently in the New Yorker magazine, only ten percent of the roughly two thousand four-year colleges in America accept fewer than one out of two students who apply. This year, for the first time in its history, Kenyon entered the ranks of those extremely selective colleges having an admittance rate below 50 percent.

In fact, the selectivity rate for Kenyon's Class of 2007 fell to 44 percent, down from 52 percent last year and 66 percent the year before--a 22-percent drop over the course of just two years.

The plummeting admit rate was made possible by hefty increases in applications this year and last. A record 3,356 students applied to the College in 2003, compared with 2,838 last year and 2,002 the year before, representing 18 and 40 percent increases, respectively.

Improvement in the academic quality of applicants accompanied the increase in quantity. The average SAT verbal score went up ten points, from 671 to 681, with an even greater climb in average SAT math score, from 648 to 661. The reported high-school grade-point average rose from 3.73 to 3.81.

For the first time in memory, more applicants fulfilled their high-school math requirement with calculus than with pre-calculus, suggesting that the College is attracting a greater number of students with demonstrated interest in math and rigorous academic work generally

"It looks like Kenyon is on a roll," says M. Beverly Morse, the director of admissions, who served as acting dean for the 2002-03 academic year. "The admissions staff worked extraordinarily hard. Our efforts were aided by a wonderful new admissions video and the boost we got from being designated a 'hot college' by Kaplan/Newsweek and a 'cool college' by Seventeen magazine. Moving into the top thirty in the US News and World Report rankings was another plus."

The growth in the applicant pool extends to all applicant groups.

Total minority applications increased by one-third and included one cultural group not represented in last year's pool: nine applications were received from Native Americans, compared with zero from that population in 2002. Growing by more than one-third each were applications from African-American and Latino candidates. In a trend begun last year, the number of Asian-American students applying to Kenyon continued to climb, from 116 to 133. The number of multiracial applicants grew by 71 percent, from 14 to 24.

Early-decision applications rose slightly. Admitted early-decision applicants will make up 30 percent of the Class of 2007, up from 26 percent last year. Applications from "legacies"--those having relatives who attended or currently attend Kenyon--grew by 13 percent, from 199 to 225.

Student-athletes interested in playing for a varsity team at Kenyon applied in greater numbers, 616 this year as against 539 last year.

In terms of the type of high school attended, the largest growth by far was seen in applications from public-school students, which increased by nearly 25 percent. Applications from independent-school students grew by 10 percent, as did those from parochial-school students.

Geographic diversity remains strong, as applications increased nationwide. Applicants from the Middle Atlantic states grew by 25 percent, an increase equalled by those from the Midwest excluding Ohio. New England saw a hike of 19 percent, with 13 percent growth in the West and Southwest. Ohio residents and Southerners applied in just slightly higher numbers than last year. Applications from international students swelled by a stunning 31 percent, reversing a dip experienced last year in applicants from foreign shores.

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