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University accepts record low 18 percent of early decision applicants

Applicant pool up 21 percent this year, largest number of ED applicants in University history

The University admitted 18 percent of early decision applicants to the class of 2023, marking the lowest early decision acceptance rate in the University’s history, according to Dean of Admission Logan Powell. Seven hundred and sixty-nine students were accepted out of 4,230 applicants, which was the largest early decision applicant pool the University has ever seen, Powell said.

The number of early decision applications grew 21 percent from last year, when 3,501 students applied early decision, The Herald previously reported. The acceptance rate fell due to the large volume of applications, Powell said.

The Brown Promise — which replaced all loans in University financial aid packages with grants — had a major impact on the size and composition of the early decision applicant pool this year, Powell said. Since the University officially announced the initiative in December 2017 after the early decision deadline and right before the regular decision deadline, this year’s early decision applicant pool was the first group of prospective students to “change dramatically as a result of the Brown Promise,” Powell said.

Over half of the admits intend to apply for financial aid, more than any previous cohort of early decision admits in at least six years. The University also saw a 45 percent increase in applications from the Midwest this cycle. Both trends are “directly attributable to (the) Brown Promise,” Powell said.

“These were students who — in some cases, geographically or socioeconomically — might not have thought Brown was going to be affordable for them,” Powell added. The “Brown Promise now gives them an indication that Brown is affordable for them.”

Additionally, 12 percent of early decision admits are first-generation students, the largest number of students in at least six years, Powell said. Forty-four percent of admitted students identify as people of color, up from the 38 percent of early decision admits to the class of 2022, The Herald previously reported. Of the 769 admitted students, 390 identify as women while 379 identify as men, Powell added.

Students admitted early to the class of 2023 represent 46 states and 37 nations, Powell said. China, the United Kingdom, India, Singapore and Canada are the most represented foreign countries, he added.

Though there has been a decline in the number of international students attending American colleges over the past two years, “we’re actually seeing increases in international students applying to Brown,” Powell said. He suggested that the University’s strong reputation abroad, the presence of dedicated alums in foreign countries and the Open Curriculum continue to attract international students to the University, despite national trends “in the opposite direction.”

“This is the beginning of another phenomenal class,” Powell said. “They’re talented, they’re socioeconomically diverse, they’re geographically diverse, they’re going to add incredible perspectives to the Brown community, and we’re happy to welcome them.”

Out of the early decision applicant pool, 27 percent were denied admission and 55 percent were deferred. The University denied more and deferred fewer early decision applicants this year, Powell said. Last year, 12 percent of early decision applicants were denied while 66 percent were deferred, The Herald previously reported.

This shift came in response to “nearly unanimous” feedback from high school counselors who suggested the University should deny early decision applicants who would not be competitive in regular decision rather than deferring them, Powell said. As the volume of applications has increased in recent years, the University has become more selective, he added.

“We want to be clear about an applicant’s chances in our pool,” Powell said. “In the short term, (being denied admission) is hard news to take. But if we can help the student refocus, recalibrate, shift their attention to a school that’s a better academic fit, then that’s the right thing for us to do.”



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