According to school officials, CC’s Class of 2017 is fairly diverse, unusually intelligent, and composed of quintessentially accomplished yet humble CC students.
The Class of 2017’s high school academic performance is certainly worth noting. 28 percent of its students were in the top 1 percent of their class in high school, 59 percent were in the top five percent, 76 percent were in the top 10 percent, and 96 percent were in the top 24 percent.
The Class of 2017’s median test scores are no less impressive. With a median combined SAT score (2400 scale) of 2080 and median composite ACT score of 32, our new students surpass the national average by about 30 percent.
The incoming class also boasts members of diverse demographics, with 28 percent American ethnic minorities, 7 percent international students, and 4 percent dual citizens. The aforementioned international students come from 32 different countries, including nations as far-flung as Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, and Sri Lanka.
The Office of Minority and International Students has a finely tuned system for helping underrepresented demographics adjust to life at CC. “We work very closely with the Admissions Office throughout the admissions process,” said Director of the Office of Minority and International Students Roger Smith
OMIS maintains a significant presence throughout students’ introductions to CC. “We do reach out to American ethnic minority, first-generation, and international students over the summer and make ourselves available to them throughout pre-arrival and NSO,” said Smith.
However, the Admissions Office does not actively target specific percentages related to diversity. “We do go into it knowing that diversity is important, and although we don’t have specific goals, we usually do a good job representing the world,” said Garcia.
This means that diversity tends to be acknowledged later in the admissions process. “[Diversity] tends to come after the fact,” said Garcia.
Garcia made clear that the overriding quality the admissions office searches for is academic and personal achievement. “The basic criteria that we have for all of our students is that they have to have…a standard set of qualifications in terms of academic and personal engagements, although individually unique,” he said.
In regards to financial aid, CC is need-aware. “We have a finite budget that we can’t overspend,” Garcia said. “Not only do we have to worry about ‘do we have 525 students?’ but the big question is ‘can we support them financially once they are admitted’”?
Garcia maintained that decisions regarding students’ financial needs are driven by economic realities. “We have about 25 million dollars in financial aid; we can’t spend 35 million dollars in financial aid,” he said.
These circumstances are far from novel in CC’s history. “We’ve been need-aware the whole 25 years I’ve been here,” Garcia said.
“We were very selective this year,” said Garcia. “We had a little over 5700 applications and we admitted about 1200 applicants.”
This year, CC admitted about 22 percent of its applicants. The general trend is that it is becoming increasingly selective over the years, with admission decreasing by 1 percent in a single year from last year’s 23 percent.
This figure is the average of early- and regular-action admission rates, which differ considerably. 36 percent of early action applicants were admitted, in contrast to approximately 15 percent of regular-action applicants.
The process of recruiting and vetting potential students begins fairly early in students’ high school careers. “The actual cycle that a student takes from being someone that’s interested to someone that actually shows up is fairly long…we start it in December or January of the students’ junior year,” Garcia said.
This process initially casts a remarkably wide net before combing through applicants more selectively. “We have probably about 30,000 students in our system,” Garcia said. “We message them and say, hey, take a look at Colorado College, we’ve got some great things to offer.”
Garcia stressed that getting to know students on a personal level is a crucial aspect of the application process. “We’re building a relationship with them because they’re trying to decide where to place Colorado College on their list of priorities,” he said.
Garcia was also enthusiastic about students who have been admitted after they were placed on the waiting list.
“In March, we ask the students who weren’t admitted if they would like to be on the waiting list, and if they say yes, we reconsider them in May,” he said. “We’re really delighted when we can admit someone from the waiting list, because they’re the ones that are really interested and who missed admission by a very small margin.”
Garcia noted that members of the Class of 2017, like most CC students in his experience, are averse to self-aggrandizement despite impressive records. “This is a purely anecdotal argument, but I believe that our students are intellectual giants, but they’re very unassuming about it. They’re not prone to talk about it,” he said.
Eliza Carter, Staff Writer