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Early Action Applicants Up By 6 Percent

Heights Editor

Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The number of early action applicants this year increased by six percent over last year, despite some changes in other universities' policies that might have indicated it would decrease.

This year, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Virginia reinstated early action. Though students who apply early to UVA were not faced with restrictions, Harvard and Princeton instated single-choice policies such as the ones already in place at Yale and Stanford. This meant students who chose to apply early action to one of those schools could not apply early action or early decision to any other school. As a result, it was predicted that Boston College's early application pool would decrease in number. This year, however, 6,580 students applied early to BC, as opposed to last year's 6,201. Georgetown and Notre Dame also saw increases in the number of early applications.

"The impact I was expecting volume-wise did not materialize," said John Mahoney, director of undergraduate admissions.

Despite the increase in numbers, there was a difference in the application pool. "We clearly saw in our early pool fewer of the high fliers, the top one to two percent," Mahoney said. "However, the total number went up and the quality of our pool was absolutely wonderful. Maybe our market share of the next tier down increased ever so slightly."

Though there were fewer students at the very top, the Presidential Scholars program will remain unaffected. "Our other fear was that the Presidential Scholar pool would be affected, but that just wasn't the case," Mahoney said.

The acceptance rate for early action decreased from 44 to 40 percent. "The EA pool is very strong, thus the acceptance rate is higher than at regular decision," Mahoney said.

The number of applicants to the College of Arts and Sciences remained almost even with last year, but the other three smaller undergraduate schools saw increases. Applications to the Carroll School of Management and the Connell School of Nursing both increased 15 percent, and the Lynch School of Education saw a 34 percent increase in applicants.

This could be because some students and their families are thinking more pragmatically about how their degrees might affect their post-college plans in uncertain economic times. "It could be somewhat economy driven," Mahoney said.

In addition, though the exact number is not yet official, the total number of applicants to BC has exceeded 34,000, compared with last year's 32,974 applications.

Now that students have been accepted, programs have started to help them learn more about the University. Over winter break, there were 50 alumni-hosted programs for accepted students across the country, which current students attended while they were home for the holidays.

The first Admitted Eagle Day will occur Jan. 22, and will give those admitted a chance to come to campus. This year, some changes have been made. Usually, there are seven or eight check-in points across campus where students are welcomed. This year, however, the welcome for all students will be held in Conte Forum. It will feature a keynote speaker, Rev. Jeremy Clarke, S.J., a professor in the history department.

In addition, an Admitted Eagle Team has been created to answer any questions attendees might have. Forty members of the Student Admissions Program (SAP), predominantly freshmen and sophomores, were selected through an application process to be stationed throughout the campus in gold fleece vests so someone will always be near to assist the accepted students.

Following this program, members of SAP will be contacting the accepted students to reach out to them on an individual level. "The challenge of early action is, without being overbearing, keeping in contact with accepted students," Mahoney said.

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