Updated Jan. 25, 2012
The early decision admission rate dropped to 19 percent this year as the University admitted 556 out of 2,919 early decision applicants to the class of 2016, according to the Admission Office. Early decision applicants were notified of the decision Dec. 13.
The early decision acceptance rate fell slightly from last year’s 21 percent rate. This year’s applicant pool was the largest in the past three years. Last year, 2,796 students applied early decision and 2,847 students applied in 2009.
“It felt to us as though the academic strength of the pool was greater than certainly I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” said Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73.
Though he did not specify the exact number, Miller said the University deferred more than 2,000 applicants, adding that Brown likely “did defer a few more” applicants than in previous years.
“We are anticipating another large regular decision pool and we wanted to be cautious to make sure we saved spaces,” he said.
A plurality of students — about 31 percent — declared interest in the social sciences, followed by about 26 percent in the life and medical sciences and about 23 percent in the physical sciences. Engineering was the most popular intended concentration, with 46 students — roughly 8 percent of admits — listing it as their field of interest.
This year marked the second admission cycle since the University formally approved the School of Engineering in 2010. Since last year, Miller said more engineers applied and were admitted to the University. He added that the University spent “a lot of time” recruiting engineering applicants.
The University received many more questions about financial aid from early decision applicants than in years past, Miller said. Because Brown’s need-blind admissions policy separates financial aid from admissions, Miller said he did not know how many early decision admits will receive financial aid.
“People are very concerned about affordability, and we had a lot of questions about early decision financial aid,” he said. “Paying for college is a real concern.”
Miller estimated that the University admitted between 15 and 20 students to the Program in Liberal Medical Education — making for an admit rate of between 4 and 5 percent. Usually, the University admits around 17 or 18 PLME students in the early decision cycle, he said.
This year, the PLME applicant pool increased by 25 percent, The Herald previously reported.
The University admitted about 160 athletes, roughly on par with the admit level for the past five years, Miller said. Since many athletic recruits apply early decision, the early decision admission rate is significantly higher than the regular decision rate.
“That really skews our admit rate,” Miller said. “If you pull athletes out of that process, the admit rate in early and regular is very similar.”
In the United States, the most admits came from New York, where 83 students were accepted. California followed, with 78 admitted students. Regionally, about 21 percent of admits came from New England, followed by about 15 percent from New York and about 14 percent each from the Mid-Atlantic and California.
International students comprised roughly 11 percent of early decision admits. The largest number of international admits hailed from China, with 13 students — or about 21 percent of international admits — accepted. Canada, the United Kingdom and India followed with nine, seven and six admits, respectively.
The University has in recent years attempted to increase its presence in India and China by forming educational partnerships and organizing both a Year of India and Year of China. But Miller said he did not believe there were significantly more applicants or admits from either country this year.
About 58 percent of admitted students come from public high schools, while about 35 percent come from private schools.
The University also had a “record number” of minority students in the applicant pool, Miller said.
Charlie Figueroa ’16, who was admitted as a PLME student, said he was very surprised to have been admitted. When decisions came out, his mother had the computer open and a video camera to record his reaction.
“I screamed the F-bomb in front of her, which I’ve never done,” he said. Figueroa, who plans to study biology and theatre arts and performance studies, said he was drawn to Brown because it seemed very “community-oriented” and because of its LGBTQ culture.
Regular decision applications were due Jan. 1. The University aims to have a first-year class of about 1,500 students. The University is still processing the total number of regular decision applications it received, said Diane Duphily, executive assistant in the Admission Office. Duphily said the office should finish counting later in the week.
— With additional reporting by Izzy Rattner