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Class of 2017 applicant pool largest to date

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01

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The Office of Undergraduate Admissions received over 18,000 applications this year for the Class of 2017, the highest number of submissions in the university’s history.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions this year received a record−breaking number of applications, making the Tufts Class of 2017 the most selective in the university’s history.

According to Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin, the admissions office has received 18,167 applications, a number that will increase as non−electronic applications are counted. The tally marks an 11 percent increase in applications from last year.

“During the fall, our programs on campus were large, and our school visits were large, so it felt like something was building,” Coffin said in an interview last week. “Here we are, two weeks after the deadline, and we have a record.”

In addition, Coffin said the number of Early Decision applicants rose 17 percent from last year, while applications to the School of Engineering reached a new high for the seventh year in a row, increasing 15 percent to 3,177 submissions.

“This is a historic admissions cycle,” Coffin said. “In every category we hit a record high, which is really remarkable. What that means is when we release decisions in March, we will have a record low acceptance rate.”

Much of Tufts’ growing popularity can be attributed to improvements in the admissions office’s communication efforts, according to Coffin. Last year, Admissions replaced its traditional viewbook with Jumbo, an admissions magazine, and launched an improved website featuring interactive elements and blogs.

“This is the first class that has gone from recruitment all the way through the deadline with this plan in place and I am crediting a lot of the growth with that,” Coffin said. “The blogs have just been ridiculously popular...and it’s exceeded our expectations.”

According to Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions Daniel Grayson, the changes were developed in hopes of making admissions publications a better resource for students.

“If you poke around the admissions site, you’ll see that a huge shift in our messaging ... has been around building our resources on our own website to help students,” Grayson said. “For the month of December and a good chunk of November, the whole admissions site was dedicated to helping applicants present the best possible application.”

Coffin said that prospective students have responded positively to Admissions’ attempts to help applicants through the admissions process.

“What students have said to us is ‘Tufts is really helpful. It just makes me feel comfortable thinking about an application. And whether I get in or not, I like the idea that the admissions office is a resource to me,’” Coffin said.

Tufts representatives have also been traveling to high schools around the country and world with the goal of putting Tufts on the radar for every student applying to highly selective institutions, Grayson explained.

“The idea here is to present information to [applicants] that they want, that they need, and use that as an opportunity to introduce Tufts to them by talking about it,” he said.

While 362 members of the incoming class have already been admitted from the first round of Early Decision, most of the Class of 2017 will not be notified of their admissions decision until April, Coffin said.

Although this year’s applicant pool is unusually large, he expects that between two−thirds and three−fourths of the applicants will be qualified for admission, making the decision process especially difficult.

“The biggest struggle when you have a pool this big is making the fine distinction between one candidate and the next,” Coffin said. “The pool, as it grows, is not getting weaker in terms of the academic and personal characteristics. The challenge is figuring out, from this pool of quality, how you find the students who are ‘Tufts−y,’ reading a folder and saying, ‘I see a personality here that fits this place.’”

While the applications continue to be reviewed, Coffin believes that Tufts students can feel heartened by the rising popularity of their university.

“Every student should want their alma mater to get stronger every year,” he said. “The growth of undergraduate admissions is the sign of a healthy institution.”

For a look at some notable application video supplements from Class of 2017 hopefuls, check out the Daily’s blog, JumboSlice.

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