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University News

Early applications rise for class of 2017

Senior Staff Writer
Sunday, November 11, 2012

The number of early applications to the University rose by about 1 percent this year, while applications to the Program in Liberal Medical Education decreased by about 10 percent, according to Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73. The Admission Office received a record number of 2,957 early decision applications for spots in the class of 2017, Miller said. Last year, the University received 2,919 early decision applications.

The Admission Office extended the early decision deadline for all applicants from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7 after Hurricane Sandy caused widespread power outages and school closings in the mid-Atlantic region, The Herald reported earlier this month.

“We had a number of students who had storm-related delays,” Miller said, adding that he still expects about 20 to 30 more applications to be submitted by students who were granted storm-related extensions. Other Ivy League institutions also extended their deadlines in the wake of the storm.

Hurricane Sandy forced officials in New York and New Jersey regions affected by the storm to delay the Nov. 1 SAT administration until later this month. Miller said the postponement of the exam in these areas caused several high school seniors to request additional extensions. “We’re going to be as flexible as we possibly can,” he said.

The number of applications is consistent with the steady rise in applicants over the past several years, Miller said.

“In an era of economic uncertainty, people are looking for value,” Miller said. “I think Brown remains generally a very attractive option.”

But Miller said he does not expect the total number of applications to continue to rise in coming years, adding that nationally, the number of individuals graduating from high school has begun to dip. Miller predicted that after several years of large jumps in the total number of applications, there will likely be a leveling-off effect in the near future.

PLME applications dropped from 417 to 374, Miller said. He said the size of the early decision pool was too small to be able to draw any significant conclusions about the dip, adding that many students apply for PLME spots in the regular decision pool.

Minority students accounted for 32 percent of the applicant pool, a 3 percent rise from last year, Miller said. Applications from international students increased by 4 percent to represent 15 percent of the applicant pool this year.

Miller said students from the Mid-Atlantic region made up 28 percent of this year’s applicant pool, a drop of about 2 to 3 percent from last year that he linked to Hurricane Sandy’s impact. But the region still accounted for the largest share of applications, with New England having the second largest share at 20 percent. Students from the West Coast and the Mountain West accounted for 16 percent of applicants. Applications from the South constituted 12 percent, and applications from the Midwest represented 8 percent of the pool, he said.

About 55 percent of early decision applicants also applied for financial aid, a figure which Miller said was “absolutely identical” to last year’s applicant pool.

Interest in the physical sciences slightly increased this year, with 20 percent of applicants indicating they plan to concentrate in the physical sciences compared to 18 percent last year. According to Miller, other academic areas of study remained constant, with 30 percent of applicants planning to study the life sciences, 25 percent planning to study the social sciences and 20 percent indicating they plan to concentrate in the humanities.

Applications to the Brown/Rhode Island School of Design dual degree program dipped from 68 to 40 this year.

Early decision applicants typically learn their fate in the second week of December, but with this year’s extension of the application deadline to Nov. 7, Miller said the Admission Office had not reached a decision for the date of notification. He said mid-December remained the target for releasing admission decisions.

“We’re going to try very hard to get decisions to people because we understand a number of people will have to apply to other places,” Miller said. “We understand that waiting is not much fun.”

Belinda Zhou, a senior at Hunter College High School in New York, said she decided to submit an early decision application after participating in the University’s Summer@Brown program a couple years ago. Zhou, who applied for a PLME spot but indicated she would like to be considered for admission even if she does not get accepted as a PLME, said she was impressed by the University’s strong cognitive neuroscience program.

“I felt like the Brown community really cared about Providence and Rhode Island and was interested in giving back to the community around them,” Zhou said, adding that she is also interested in exploring ethnic studies.

Nikita Kodali, a senior who attends the Middlesex School in Concord, Mass., said she was attracted to Brown after visiting campus and discovering the University’s open curriculum. Kodali said that after years of little control over her academic schedule, she was excited by the prospect of choosing her own course of study. She said she was interested in possibly studying computational biology or biomedical engineering but was unsure of her concentration.

Brown’s distinctive academic approach also appealed to David Peck, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. Peck, who plans on studying international relations and music if admitted, said he was impressed by the University’s “eclectic community” of students who are free to pursue their own interests.

“I like the thought of being able to combine my interests and study how the fusion of music genres across cultures gives rise to cultural links,” Peck said, adding that he would also like to explore the University’s theater program.

The strength of the University’s scientific research programs attracted the attention of Sangwon Kim, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va.

Kim, who said she is interested in studying biochemistry, added that several graduates of her high school who now attend the University had shared their positive experiences with her. “They’ve all told me Brown blew away their expectations,” she said.

Miller said he did not know what the early decision acceptance rate would be, adding that the Admission Office would carefully examine the quality of the applicant pool. Last year, the University admitted 19 percent of early decision applicants.

Miller added that students admitted under the University’s binding early decision program have accounted for about 30 to 35 percent of the incoming freshman class for the past few years, a proportion he indicated the Admission Office would aim to continue this year. He said he expects the total size of the class of 2017 to be about 1,500 students, which is consistent with recent incoming class sizes.

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