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Web update: After record-setting year, early acceptance rate steady at 20 percent

577 admitted to class of 2015


Brown admitted 577 early decision applicants Dec. 13 to its class of 2015. The acceptance rate was just under 21 percent, with 2,796 applicants, according to the Office of Admission.

Academically, this year had "the strongest early decision applicant pool we've seen," said Dean of Admission Jim Miller '73.

This year's numbers are similar to last year's. Of the 2,847 students who applied early decision last year, 567 were admitted to the class of 2014, an acceptance rate of 20 percent.

Applicants have shown a slight increase in interest in the sciences over the past few years. The trend may reflect increased recruiting in the sciences and a recent increase in Brown's national recognition in the sciences, Miller said.

A combined 46 percent of students are primarily interested in the sciences, with 26 percent in the life and medical sciences and 20 percent in the physical sciences.

Thirty one percent are primarily interested in the social sciences, and 19 percent are interested in the humanities.  Four percent of students are undecided, according to the Office of Admission.

Seventeen students were admitted to the Program in Liberal Medical Education, which grants students admission to Brown's Alpert Medical School pending the completion of undergraduate study at Brown.

Fifty four percent of those accepted are women, similar to last year, Miller said.

Of those admitted, 11 percent identify as Asian, nine percent as African American, seven percent as Latino and one percent as Native American. Half identify as white. Others identified as unknown or international.

International students accounted for 11 percent of those admitted and hail from 20 different countries. China, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom and India top the list.

Students were accepted from all but six states, the most common being New York, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Twenty percent of those admitted are from New England, a slight decrease from last year, Miller said. Thirteen percent are from New York, and 17 percent are from the Mid-Atlantic. Nine percent are from the Midwest or Central areas of the country. Four percent hail from the Mountain or Pacific regions, and 13 percent are from California. Thirteen percent of students come from the South, an increase from last year, he said.

A majority of students — 57 percent — attended public schools. One third attended private schools, and 11 percent attended parochial schools. There are slightly more first-generation college students than last year, Miller said.

The acceptance rate for early decision applicants tends to be much higher than that for regular decision. The early decision applicant pool has a large number of recruited athletes, accounting for part of the discrepancy in admittance rates, Miller said.

"Last year's pool was the biggest early decision pool in our history," he said. The number of early decision applications last year jumped by about 20 percent from previous years. This year's was the second largest in the University's history.

The deadline for regular decision applicants is January 1, 2011.

In recent years, University officials have aimed to have incoming freshman classes with 1,485 students. The class of 2015 should be similar, Miller said. Last year, administrators said they planned to maintain the size of the incoming first-year class while increasing undergraduate enrollment, according to a campus-wide e-mail sent by President Ruth Simmons summarizing the Corporation meeting Feb. 27. The University is planning to accept more transfer students to make up the gap, she wrote in the e-mail.

For the first time, admission officials read all applications electronically. "The process went remarkably smoothly," Miller said.

Last year, due to the overwhelming number of applications, the Office of Admission had to temporarily store some applicants' files in Alumnae Hall. "Nobody's yearning for paper applications anymore," Miller said.

This year's admission cycle also marks the first with the new School of Engineering, which was approved by the Corporation in May. But Miller said the engineering school did not have much of an impact on admission.

Unlike many other engineering schools, Brown's does not have a separate admission process. Applicants apply to the College and do not have to declare a concentration until the end of sophomore year.

"We've tried to publicize the existence of the school," Miller said. "I'm hoping we'll see an uptick in engineering interests" among applicants.


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