Class of 2016 admissions statistics announced
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 11:04
While Davidson’s class of 2012 prepares to graduate and leave campus behind them, a new class of freshmen is preparing to take their places. High school seniors around the world compile recommendations, transcripts requests and write multiple essays by the prescribed deadline to be considered “complete” by the office of admissions. Anxious waiting follows until decisions reach prospective students.
The administrative side of things is equally rigorous as the Office of Admissions spends the month of March reviewing the 4000-plus applications in time to send out decisions. For the class of 2016, those decisions came out on Mar. 27. As of Apr. 2, no regular decision applicants had committed, but with the May 1 commitment deadline approaching, the Office of Admissions should have a clearer picture of the class of 2016 very soon.
The process begins with early decision applications in Nov. and Dec. At Davidson, about 12-13% of the total student body applies and commits through this process. That smaller pool of applications is overseen and decided upon by a full committee—that is, every admissions officer is present for the decision about each early decision application. Dean of Admissions Chris Gruber explained that those students accepted during early decision “set the bar” for what values the admission officers look for in applications from the larger pool of applications in regular decision. As a testament to the significance weighed upon early decision applications, Dean Gruber himself makes it a point to review every application on track to be waitlisted or accepted.
So, with a clear vision of class of 2016 as shaped by early decision applications, the admissions department delves into regular decision applications. To manage the larger volume of applications, admissions officers generate most preliminary decisions in smaller committees of about four people and reconvene as a group to make final decisions. Here, the committee discusses groups of applicants holistically and asks, “How does this group feel?” Are there too many people like this? Are there not enough people like that? Do these applicants effectively reflect the values of Davidson?
Dean Gruber describes this process as one of the “check and balances” within the admission structure to assure that no single person has final decision power over any applicant’s future. To be sure, admission officers give extensive attention to each application before making a decision. Dean Gruber estimates that every application is “well documented” and “well read” for 20-45 minutes. That focused attention is thanks to the “enviable” ratio of staff members to applications. At a larger institution, that ratio may be anywhere between 1 to 1500 or 2000, barely allowing the admission officer enough time to glance at an applicant’s transcript before making a snap decision.
The Office of Admissions has been paperless for two years now, which poses a decidedly different experience from the administrative side. Rather than endless stacks of paper applications, thousands of pages of information are digitally condensed into a few computers. Though more eco-friendly, Dean Gruber did note with a laugh that this makes applications “harder to reach on the couch.”
With the exception of the shift to paperless, the admission process has not made any drastic changes in recent years. Dean Gruber was quick to disprove the “myth of the push for 2000.” While the popular belief on campus that the college is incrementally and strategically pushing to reach a student population of 2000, Gruber points out that the number of students admitted per year remains a steady 490, with about 10 annual transfers, per year. Rather, the gradual increase in the student body is a matter of “student behavior”—that is, an improvement in overall retention. The changes and additions to residence halls demonstrates the college’s push to accommodate more student through on-campus housing, not a push to accommodate more students overall.
When asked if there are any hopeful “standouts” in the class of 2016, Dean Gruber replied with a smile, “there are 490 standouts.”
Admitted Class of 2016: by the numbers
Number of Applicants: 4769
Number Accepted: 1153
Number expected to enroll: 490*
Half men and half women
27% are domestic students of color
5.5% are international students
18% are from North Carolina
23.4% are from the Southeast
14.4% are from the Mid-Atlantic
14.4% are from the Northeast
9.2% are from the Midwest
13.5% are from the West
7.9% are first-generation college students
High school grade points given by the schools are not recorded, and the class rank data is not captured until the class enrolls.
* plus 10 transfers