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The University received about 28,900 total applications this year, the third-highest number of applications in its history.

The Admission Office had counted 28,733 total applications received as of Jan. 15 — 25,723 students applying in the regular decision process and 3,010 applying early decision — but that total will likely rise to 28,900 after sorting materials and receiving late applications, said Jim Miller ’73, dean of admission.

Total applications rose by slightly less than 1 percent from last year’s total of 28,743 but were still below the record-setting years of 2011 and 2010, when the University received 30,944 applications for the class of 2015 and 30,135 applications for the class of 2014.

Regular decision applications were due Jan. 3. The Admission Office announced last month it had accepted 18.5 percent of early decision applicants.

“I don’t think the change is big enough to draw any big conclusions other than that we remain a very popular and valuable option for people,” Miller said, citing ongoing economic troubles and the marketability of a Brown degree as major reasons for the persistently high interest in applying to the University.

International applicants came from 145 countries — a record for the University, with four more countries represented than last year — and accounted for an unprecedented 17 percent of the overall applicant pool. While China once again contributed the most international applicants, India surged to second place this year with a record 400 applications submitted, up from 317 last year.

Miller attributed the spike in Indian applicants to the University’s ongoing efforts to boost its profile and increase outreach in India. The University hosted lectures and events related to its Year of India during the 2009-10 academic year and created a Brown-India Initiative research program last year based out of the Watson Institute for International Studies.

“I think (the jump in applications is) a direct result of our focus,” Miller said. “There have been a number of initiatives like travel and faculty and student exchanges that have taken place.”

The other countries accounting for the five most international applicants were Canada, South Korea and the United Kingdom, respectively.

Roughly 38 percent of applicants identified as racial minorities, a record high, Miller said. Asians accounted for 20 percent of the overall applicant pool, Hispanics made up 10 percent and blacks represented 9 percent.

California remains the state with the most domestic applicants, a trend that has held for the past six or seven years, Miller said. Following California were New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas, a trend Miller said was consistent with past years.

A total of 535 applicants indicated they would like to be considered for the Brown/Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program, a 6 percent increase from last year. The large number of applicants relative to spots available suggests the program has secured widespread appeal since its creation in 2008, Miller said.

Though only 15 applicants will gain admission to the program, those who do not are still considered for general admission to Brown.

The Program in Liberal Medical Education received 2,236 applications this year, a 10 percent dip from last year’s pool. Miller said this decrease was too small to support any significant conclusions.

Biology, engineering, international relations, economics and biochemistry accounted for the five most popular potential concentrations indicated by applicants, a trend consistent with recent years, Miller said. Of the applicants, 55 percent plan to pursue a bachelor of arts degree, while 45 percent expressed interest in a bachelor of science degree.

Interest nearly tripled for the newly renamed business, entrepreneurship and organizations program, previously known as commerce, organizations and entrepreneurship — 1278 applicants indicated interest in BEO compared to 455 applicants last year.

Miller said the large increase could be due to the University’s decision to rename the program, with the inclusion of the word “business” making the concentration more attractive to applicants.

For the third consecutive year, around 68 percent of applicants applied for financial aid. Miller, who sits on the Strategic Planning Committee on Financial Aid, said President Christina Paxson asked the committee to consider long-term goals for the University’s financial aid program via a series of conversations with the provost, the Corporation and members of the Brown community. He said he was not sure what the committee’s timeline would be for submitting its recommendations.

In previous years, the percentage of applicants who apply for aid has been roughly equal to the two-thirds of admitted students who apply for aid. Less than 50 percent of enrolled students receive aid, the lowest rate in the Ivy League.

“I think everybody believes financial aid is a universal priority,” Miller said.

The Admission Office plans to phase in the reduction of 20 slots — from 225 to 205 — for recruited athletes over the next few admission cycles, Miller said. The Corporation approved the measure last year as part of former President Ruth Simmons’ athletics review recommendations. This year marks the first of what will be a three-year process in cutting spots for recruited athletes. Miller said the Admission Office cut fewer than 10 slots this year.

The Admission Office could place more applicants on the waitlist this year to reach its target of roughly 1,500 students for the incoming first-year class, Miller suggested. Last year, 1,541 students accepted their admission offers to join the class of 2016, which caused the first-year class to overshoot the 1,500-student target.

“We wait until very close to the end of the process to try to figure out what our yield is going to be,” Miller said, adding he expects the acceptance rate to hover around 9 percent. “We will be a bit more conservative this year.”

In an admission cycle that he said has been “pretty stable” so far, Miller said he was most struck by the unprecedented global diversity of this year’s applicant pool, given the record number of countries with applicants as well as the record-high percentage of the pool that came from abroad.

Miller said the Admission Office has made progress in reaching out to new regions around the world, pointing to the need to target specific areas because of limited resources. “Brazil remains a place where I think we’re going to spend a lot of time going forward,” he said, adding that he hopes the University can also attract more applicants from African countries.


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