Colleges and universities in the Boston area are seeing an overall increase in the number of applicants this year with the exception of Boston College, which had a 26 percent decrease in applications.
Boston College officials attributed the decline to a new 400-word essay requirement, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Last year, Boston College received 34,051 applications for 2,250 spots. This year, about 25,000 students applied.
John L. Mahoney, director of undergraduate admissions at BC, said the drop in numbers was a strategic decision to lower the quantity and increase the quality of the applicant pool.
“Probably what we’ve done is right-size our applicant pool,” he told the Chronicle.
Mahoney said the essay is an evaluative tool as well as a way to suppress frivolous applications.
“It seems that we’ve lost the ‘Why Not?’ applicant,” he said.
The number of applicants to Boston University increased by 20.6 percent, according to Sara Rimer, a spokeswoman for the university. As of Jan. 7, the university received 52,159 applications, which was an increase of 8,911 total applications from last year.
The number of African American students applying to BU rose from 2,823 applicants in 2012, to 3,355 in 2013, or an 18.8 percent increase. The number of Hispanics applying to BU also grew from 4,219 in 2012 to 5,033 in 2013, or an increase of 19.3 percent.
The number of early applicants to Babson College rose 18.45 percent from last year, according to the college’s website. A record 2,324 students applied this fall.
The college said that in the past six years, it has seen a 114 percent increase in early applicants and a 63 percent increase overall.
Kris Guay, the Communications Manager for MIT admissions, announced online that the institution also received 6,541 early applications, a record number for MIT. Of those 6,541 applicants, MIT admitted 650 students.
“These students represent some of the best minds and exceptional stars of our future,”
Guay wrote on her MIT blog: “We welcome them to campus, where they will join the similarly accomplished, and diverse community of students at MIT.”
Guay wrote that MIT admissions deferred 4,397 students who will be reconsidered for regular action.
The number of students applying early to Harvard also grew 14.7 percent, according to the Harvard Gazette. The college admitted a total of 895 students to the class of 2017, which was a 16 percent increase from last year, when 774 students were accepted early.
“An increasing number of the nation’s and the world’s best students chose to apply early to Harvard this fall, the second year of our restored Early Action program,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid told the Gazette. “It appears now that early may not be early at all but the ‘new normal’ for some students who feel ready to apply by Nov. 1.”
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