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ND admits 1,733 early

Madeline Buckley | Thursday, January 15, 2009

The University was unsure if the struggling economy would cause a decline in the number of applicants for the Class of 2013, but the Office of Undergraduate Admissions was pleased to receive the second-highest number of applications in history, said Dan Saracino, assistant provost for Undergraduate Admissions.

However, while the University received about 14,000 applications after the regular action deadline passed about two weeks ago, exceeding last year’s number, the economy could be a factor in the decrease in applications from two years ago, Saracino said.

“Very few schools are reporting record numbers,” he said.

Saracino said he attributes part of the increase in applications from last year to the decision to use the Common Application, which allows students to fill out a general application that will go to several colleges and universities.

The Admissions Office will be reviewing the regular action applications through March, but they have admitted 1,733 students early action, 200 more students than were admitted under early action last year, Saracino said.

“We are using the same standards we used last year, and we found that there were 200 more students that we wanted to admit,” he said. “We are pleased with the early action applicants.”

The average ACT score was 33 and the average SAT score, composed of the combined critical reading and math scores, was 1451, Saracino said. These averages are basically the same as the averages for early action last year.

The students accepted under early action also represent a wide range of ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, he said.

Saracino estimated that the average SAT score for the accepted regular action students will be about 20 points lower.

“With early action we are more selective, more cautious,” he said. “Unless a student is clearly admissible, we don’t admit them, we defer them, meaning we will look at them again with the regular action pool.”

However, Saracino said these averages give only a small glimpse to the profiles of accepted students. The most important factor in admission to the University, more important than test scores, is academic rigor, he said.

“We look to see if the student has sought out the most demanding course load that their high school offers,” he said. “The average number of AP courses taken by admitted students is five.”

Saracino said the uncertain economy could also adversely affect the number of accepted students who elect to attend Notre Dame.

“We are wondering how the economy is going to impact the yield, or the percentage of admitted students who say yes to you,” he said. “Our yield has always been one of the highest in the country.”

The desirable size for the incoming freshman class is 1,985 students, and the Admissions Office will not accept more students than in past years in anticipation of a lower yield rate, Saracino said.

“We don’t want to admit too many students and then find out May 1 that we have too many students confirmed,” he said.

The safer course is to put more students on the waiting list and then admit them later if the yield is low, Saracino said.

Despite the economy though, the Office of Financial Aid still guarantees that they will meet the demonstrated need of every student, so the Admissions Office can assure admitted students that their need will be met, which will hopefully keep the yield rate up, Saracino said.

Saracino said many colleges and universities throughout the country are accepting more students as a way to increase the college’s revenue, but Notre Dame has no plans to increase the student body, despite the construction of new dormitories on campus.

“My understanding is that the additional housing spaces will be used to create more comfortable situations in other residence halls,” he said.