College accepts record low percentage of applicants for the second year in a row

At 4,710, applicant pool was second largest in Wellesley history

By Evelyn Taylor-McGregor ’16

News Editor

By Hannah Degner '15, Photography Editor

By Colleen Flanagan ’15, Staff Photographer

The Board of Admission released offers of admission to candidates for the Class of 2018 on March 25, 2014. The college received 4,710 applications for the Class of 2018 which marks a two percent decline from last year. However, the 2018 applicant pool was still the second largest pool in College history at 4,710 applicants after last year’s record high of 4,794 applications. Of the 4,710 students who applied, 28 percent were offered admission. The acceptance rate last year was also 28 percent, which is the lowest acceptance rate in Wellesley history. Nearly 25 percent of the Class of 2018 applied Early Decision.

The admitted students represent 48 states, the District of Columbia and 50 nations of citizenship. Approximately 10 percent of the admitted students are international, which is down from 12 percent for the Class of 2017 and 15 percent for the Class of 2016. The actual number of admitted international students decreased by 104 students from 161 students last year to 132 students this year. Forty percent of students identify as ALANA (African American, Latin@, Native American and Asian American), 8 percent identify as biracial or multiracial, and 10 percent are first generation college students. Sixty-three percent of the admitted students attend public high schools, and 37 percent attend independent or parochial schools. Of the students who provided class rank, about 90 percent of the admitted students fall within the top 10 percent of their class.

“The volunteers among you have tutored kids in your communities, initiated sustainability efforts, advocated for social change and volunteered in clinics around the globe,” Jennifer Desjarlais, dean of admissions and financial aid, wrote in the letter sent to admitted students. “You are intellectually curious and engaged in your learning experiences, conducting scientific research, pursuing intensive study of languages and cultures and expressing creativity in the arts.”

The admissions office separates applications by  world region, U.S. state and decision plan. Wellesley offers three decision plans: Early Decision, Early Evaluation and Regular Decision. The regions are based on the number of applicants from an area of the world instead of a country. For example, the admissions office groups applications from Europe and the Middle East together, but separates applications from North California and South California since Wellesley receives a large number of applicants from the whole state of California.

Each committee on the Admissions Board that reads applications is made up of four people: the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Jennifer Desjarlais, an admissions counselor, a student and a faculty or staff member. Every member of the committee reads each applicant’s entire application and then discusses as a group whether or not the applicant would succeed at Wellesley.

Loriade Akin-Olugbade ’14, who works at the admissions office and reads applications, said the various application committees evaluate a student from multiple angles and perspectives.

“Our aim is to create a class of smart but also talented, driven, passionate and diverse women, so every detail counts,” Akin-Olugbade said. “This is what makes the admissions process interesting at Wellesley: the committee discussions on an applicant highlight the fact that members focus on different things when reading an application.”

This year, Akin-Olugbade read Early Decision and Regular Decision applications submitted by students attending school in Europe and the Middle East. Applications are evaluated based on the high school a student attended, so each group of applicants includes U.S. citizens studying in a region in addition to citizens of the countries in the region. Akin-Olugbade said that she takes joy in recognizing the students whose applications she read in person the following year.

“I love that I get to know so much about a student that I could potentially take a class with, share a common interest with … or be her neighbor,” Akin-Olugbade stated, “Two of the students whose applications I read last year were in my First Year Mentor group this year!”

Admitted candidates have until May 1 to respond to their offer of admission. Between now and then, the College will invite accepted students and their families to attend Spring Open Campus, which will be held from Sunday, April 27 to Tuesday, April 29.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the number of admitted international students decreased by 104 students from 575 students last year to 471 students this year. In fact, the number decreased by 29 students from 161 students to 132 students. The featured photo also gave attribution to Hannah Degner ’15 as the photographer, but Colleen Flanagan ’15 actually took the photo. The Wellesley News regrets these errors.

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