Katherine Hazen '18
Applications to Smith College are on a steadily increasing trend, culminating this year with 5,006 applicants, the largest application pool in the college’s history. The number of applicants rose 12 percent from last year. Thus far, 1,765 students have been offered admission, averaging to a 35 percent acceptance rate. The acceptance rate is a seven percent decrease from last year’s rate. This year’s enrollment rate is yet to be determined with the May 1 deadline and subsequent waitlist responses.
The applicant pool represented all 50 states, in addition to 110 countries. Thirty-nine percent of the applications came from domestic students of color, the same percentage as last year.
Vice president for enrollment, Audrey Smith, noted that a greater number of applicants chose to apply early decision, a contract stating that Smith is their first choice.
“At many, but not all, colleges and universities, the number of applications has increased while the number of spaces in the class has remained constant,” said Smith.
Smith speculates that the admittance rate at many prestigious universities has been declining annually with more international applications in the applicant pools. The competition between international and domestic applicants drives down admittance rates, while in turn, the uncertainty of acceptance because of lower rates causes applicants to send out more applications. Increased financial aid also plays a role, contributing to the rise of overall applications. As Smith pledges to meet full financial needs, the competition becomes steeper.
“However, few schools have experienced eight years of steady growth in applications as has been the case at Smith,” said Smith.
Generally, students who apply to Smith also apply to other Seven Sisters schools, specifically Mount Holyoke and Wellesley. Beyond this overlap, applicants have been known to apply to institutions in the other Five Colleges and the Ivy League, as well as other small liberal arts colleges in the region. The range of schools that Smith shares its applicants with demonstrates that Smith transcends the borders of categorization.
“When you draw applicants from around the world as Smith does, it’s not uncommon to have such a broad range of overlap of schools,” observed Smith.
If the applicants determine the future of the institution, Smith’s future seems bright.