8,196 Apply to Class of 2018

8,196 Apply to Class of 2018

By Mitch Perry

On March 21, the College mailed letters of acceptance to 1,422 prospective students representing all 50 states and 82 different countries in the hope that 575 of these students will enroll next fall.  The College shrunk its target class size due to yield for the class of 2017 that was greater than anticipated and therefore offered admission to 14 percent of its regular decision applicants and just 17.3 percent of overall applicants – lower than last year’s 19 percent overall acceptance rate.

“It is the most selective class ever,” said Dean of Admissions Greg Buckles. “They have been subject to the highest degree of scrutiny that any class ever has.” Despite a 10 percent drop in received applications (a total of 8,196), Buckles says that in terms of academic rating – the seven point scale used by the admissions office to evaluate academic capability – the admitted class is the highest he has seen at Middlebury College.

The number of admitted early decision students is consistent with last year’s total, and early decision students comprise 53 percent of the class, contributing to a low regular-decision acceptance rate. Buckles describes this early decision method as “a little controversial” but says that Admissions did not want to pass over excellent early decision applicants just to keep the percentage of the class that applied early decision below 50.

The admitted class for 2018 hails from across the country, with the most admitted students coming from California. Other pipeline states include New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois. The class also includes students from 82 different countries. Buckles attributed this diversity to Admissions’ goal of, “creating a community that reflects the best of the rest of the world.”

Within the accepted class, 33.7 percent of the students identify as students of color and 14.5 percent identify as the first in their family to attend college.   The first generation category is very important for Buckles and his team as they strive to create a diverse student body.

“First generation access cuts across a lot of boundaries,” he said. “It will be inclusive of socioeconomic, racial, cultural and religious diversity.”

The College plans to award $9.6 million in need-based financial aid. Although the class size is smaller, the Admissions Office tried to maintain its numbers for students of color and first generation students. According to Buckles, this means that while the budget for financial aid might not be higher than last year’s, the percentage of students on financial aid could be.

“We have many more kids with aid packages out there than we have the budget for,” Buckles said. “But, we look year to year and have a pretty good idea of where we will end up.”

Recruited student-athletes make up 11.5 percent of the admitted class. Due to the smaller pool of admitted students, Buckles said, this year Admissions was more “focused” with coaches about the number of recruits they could bring in.

The Admissions Office has also started utilizing a new feature that makes it easier for faculty in the arts departments to evaluate work submitted by prospective students to afford students with exceptional artistic ability to be recognized and lend greater heft to their application.

Buckles said the Admissions Office is as transparent about the admissions process as possible. The Admissions Office staff rates applicants on academics, personal qualities and extra-curricular activities, and then assigns the applicant an overall rating. This system allows the staff to attain a holistic view of the student.

Other factors are useful in determining whether Middlebury is a good fit for an applicant – “self-awareness” and “resiliency” are two qualities that Buckles and his team have found are important to increasing the likelihood of a student having a positive Middlebury experience. Buckles explained that these qualities allow students to take advantage of what is offered at Middlebury and, additionally, to give back.

“That creates a better roommate, a better classmate, and a better community,” he said.

With every graduating class, the Admissions Office compares the academic rating they gave students with students’ actual performance while at Middlebury. Buckles said that he has found that the best indicator of success at Middlebury is consistently the academic rating.

Students have until May 1 to accept their spot in the Class of 2018. Once the Admissions Office is able to process acceptances, the composition of the enrolled class will be available.

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