For the first time, the number of applicants to Emory College has passed the 10,000 mark, an incredible 70 percent increase since only 1990. Dan Walls, dean of admission, confirmed that the 10,000 mark had been passed and the final number of applications received was at 10,004.
"I don't know of any other University that had the kind of growth in the applicant pool we've had over such a short period of time," said Walls. Since 1990, when applications numbered 5,900, the pool has grown steadily, with a small decrease in 1995 of less than 2 percent.
Walls said that an initial review of the applications showed that the quality of the pool is extremely strong, and that the geographic range is very similar to last year's pool, reflecting gradual growth across the country. Numbers of applicants from Georgia and Florida have increased slightly this year.
The rise in numbers, according to Walls, is not merely a reflection on the work of the Office of Admission, but a "validation of everyone's efforts to see Emory grow and develop." The increase in applications "is a strong vote of confidence in Emory," he said. "It's a good barometer as to where we are as an institution."
The process now moves to winnowing down those 10,000 applications to a much smaller number, and that process is an intensive, paper-laden one. The growth in applications affects everyone, Walls said, from the person who opens the mail, to those who do data entry and filing, to the admission staff who spend hours reading folders and making recommendations. The size of that staff, according to Walls, has not increased in the past four years, despite the rise in applications and accompanying rise in workload.
This year will be a telling one for Emory in terms of yield, or the percentage of accepted students who choose to attend. Last year's statistics saw a rise in the yield, and Walls will find out this year if that signals a new stage in admissions or if it was merely a "blip." The goal for next year's freshman class is 1,125, and "we plan on hitting that target number and not overshooting," he said. One factor that will be considered is a student's demonstrated interest in Emory; the admission staff monitors contacts throughout the year. "We'll give a little edge to students who have demonstrated a strong interest. Five years ago, we didn't look at that so much."
Oxford College is also experiencing a rise in applications, according to Director of Admission and Financial Aid Jennifer Taylor. "We're up 10 percent from this same time last year," said Taylor. Oxford operates with a rolling deadline, which means they will continue to receive applications, while the deadline for application to Emory College was Jan. 15.
-- Nancy M. Spitler