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Class of 2014 predicted to be strong

Joseph McMahon | Friday, January 15, 2010

The 1,801 students admitted early to Notre Dame might be one of the most talented classes as well as the most ethnically diverse in the history of the University, director of undergraduate admissions Dan Saracino said.

Because he still doesn’t know who will commit to Notre Dame, however, Saracino said it is still impossible to determine what the class will really look like.

“It’s safe to say the 2014 class will be every bit as talented and possibly more so than previous classes,” he said. “Based on projections, [the Class of 2014 could be] the most talented and ethnically diverse class in our history.”

Saracino said the Office of Undergraduate Admission received 4,200 applications, representing a 10 percent increase from last year. Of those admitted, Saracino said he believed around 60 percent would commit to Notre Dame.

“You have a higher yield on the students who you admit early because they’re interested enough that they are applying early,” he said.

Saracino cautioned against declaring the Class of 2014 the most accomplished in University history because it is still too early to know which students will actually choose to attend next fall.

“We don’t know what the class is going to be yet,” he said. “We don’t know who’s going to say ‘yes’ yet.”

The students admitted early had an average class rank in the top 3.3 percent, an average SAT score of 1460 (composite of the math and verbal scores) and an average ACT score of 33.1.

“The profile of the students that we admitted from that group have the highest test scores and the strongest classroom performance in terms of GPA and rank in class,” Saracino said.

In addition, Saracino said this year’s early admits were 24 percent ethnic minority and had 75 international students, both of which are increases from last year.

“We’ve seen a healthy increase in applications and we’ve also admitted the largest number of ethnic minority students and international students that we’ve ever admitted in early action,” he said. “We surely can hit our goals of increasing both domestic ethnic diversity as well as international diversity.”

Saracino said those admitted are not only ethnically diverse, but also demonstrate strong leadership based on their high school backgrounds.

“This is a group of students with more ethnic and international diversity, and at the same time a group of students that were just as involved in community service and extracurriculars as before,” he said.

Saracino said while increasing the admission rates for ethnic minorities bodes well for the future, the real key to boosting diversity on campus is increasing the yield, or the number of ethnically diverse student who commit to Notre Dame.

“The key is increasing the yield on ethnic and minority students,” he said. “We want to increase the number of admits and the percentage of students that say ‘yes’ to us.”

One of the most important factors for minority students, Saracino said, is financial aid, which much of the incoming class will require.

“With the adequate financial aid, we’ll be able to increase the overall enrollment number,” he said. “Given the economy, the likelihood is that we will have another class where half of the students will need financial aid.”

Nonetheless, Saracino said the University will continue to be need-blind in admissions and meet the needs of all those admitted.

“We expect that the incoming class will be as financially needy as previous classes, so it is important for the University to continue to be need blind and meet 100 percent of the need, which we are,” he said.

Saracino said he expects the test scores of the regular action applicants to be lower, but he does expect them to be equally strong in areas of leadership and involvement.

“If in fact this year plays out as previous years have, you’ll find that the profile of the regular action students will be not quite as high in terms of GPA and test scores but will be equally impressive in terms of community service, leadership in their high schools and athletics,” he said.