News, Administration

Class of 2018 Reflects Higher Yield, Applicant Interest

This past fall, 23,223 prospective students applied for undergraduate admittance to Boston College. Of those who applied, 7,875 were offered admission. According to John Mahoney, director of undergraduate admission at BC, the University is approximating that roughly 2,280 of those 7,875 have enrolled—if confirmed, that will result in a yield of approximately 29 percent.

If achieved, this year’s targeted yield would reflect an increase for the fourth consecutive year since 2011—having risen from 23 percent in 2011, 25 percent in 2012, and 28 percent in 2013.

“The steady upward trajectory in yield over the past four years is a sign of Boston College’s increasing attractiveness to top students,” Mahoney said in an email.

In part, the Office of Undergraduate Admission attributes an increased yield in recent years to the addition of a supplementary essay, which marked the first time BC used an additional mechanism to assess prospective students since it joined the Common Application in 1998.

“I believe the supplemental essay question has allowed us to attract a more serious and intentional pool of applicants,” Mahoney said.

In 2012, the University received more than 34,000 applications for undergraduate admission—a record high for the University. In 2013, the office of undergraduate admission added a 400-word supplementary essay for the incoming Class of 2017, which resulted in 10,000 fewer applications—a decrease of about 28 percent. According to Mahoney, the supplementary essay was designed in part to attract students with stronger interests in attending BC while retaining strong applicant academic qualifications.

“Overall applications have declined the past two years, but the quality of applicants has actually increased,” he said. “I believe that the essay, by requiring more thought and effort from applicants, has eliminated candidates who applied simply due to the ease of the Common Application.”

For the Class of 2018, the middle 50th percentile range for SAT scores is 1960-2150, with a mean of 2039; the middle 50th percentile range for ACT scores is 30-33 with a mean of 31.

Admitted students for the incoming class also represent 44 states, the top five of which are Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California.

Of the 7,875 admitted applicants, approximately 55 percent are female and 45 percent are male. This year’s incoming class also consists of about 28 percent minority ethnicity students, with Chinese and Korean applicants representing the largest number of students admitted from foreign countries.

The Class of 2018 Presidential Scholars Program—a merit scholarship program within the University that provides full tuition to a select group of students—consists of 19 students, with a 73 percent yield among those admitted to the program.

This year’s wait list for prospective students was actively kept at about 2,000—a figure consistent with most years. Of the 2,000, the same number of applicants were offered admission as in 2013 for the Class of 2017.

When evaluating the waitlist, Mahoney said he maintains continuous contact with admissions directors at competitor schools such as Georgetown University, University of Notre Dame, and Fordham University to predict the number of students likely to leave the waitlist—a figure college admission offices refer to as summer attrition.

“Once the May 1 Candidate Reply Date has passed, I contact most of my counterparts at top competitor institutions to gauge the extent to which they will use their waiting lists,” he said. “These conversations inform the assumption I make about our likely summer attrition.

“Generally, we have about 2,000 active students on our waiting list,” Mahoney said. “We offered admission from the wait list to about the same number of students this year versus last year.”

Forecasting summer attrition is a useful method for the Office of Undergraduate Admission to better target the number of students that will come off the wait list in order to achieve a class size of roughly 2,280—a class size that has remained mostly static for years at BC.

“Summer attrition, or ‘melt’ as admission directors call it, is the percentage of students who enroll by May 1 but then decide not to matriculate at Boston College,” Mahoney said. “Boston College’s typical attrition has been close to 6 percent, but this year’s dropped to just 4.5 percent.”

Similar to an increased yield in enrolled students, Mahoney believes a lower level of attrition reflects a growing interest in BC as a first-choice university among prospective students.

“To me, [lower attrition] is yet another indicator of Boston College’s growing academic reputation, as we are clearly holding on to more students over the summer as other top competitors are going to their waiting lists,” he said.

Although the Office of Undergraduate Admission projects a finalized number of 2,280 enrolled students, it will not have a finalized number until the census for the undergraduate populations is completed in October.

Featured Image by Daniel Lee / Heights Senior Staff

September 4, 2014

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