The Colorado College Admissions Office sent out the final round of admission notifications for next year’s incoming class on March 14, and those who managed to make the cut should be proud.
Admittance this year was more challenging than ever in the history of our school, with CC having another year of record low admission rates.
The 18 percent acceptance rate for next year’s incoming class is the lowest it has ever been, decreasing considerably from the 22 percent admitted last year, with a mere 9 percent accepted in the recent regular action decisions.
“This year we had a better year than last year. We had historical numbers,” Roberto Garcia, Director of Admissions, said referring to the 7,600 applications CC received this year, a 31 percent increase from the 5,778 seen last year.
CC’s pool of applicants has been growing larger each year, making admission decisions increasingly difficult.
“We consider our jobs to be very bittersweet,” said Garcia. “We’re denying more students now because the size of our incoming first year class is still fixed; it doesn’t grow.”
Garcia explains that in order to maintain Colorado College tradition, this selectivity is necessary.
“The criterion that most determines our class size is classroom limit. We don’t want to have 35, 45 students in a classroom,” Garcia said, also mentioning housing and campus amenities as additional factors that contribute to limitations on admittance each year.
Using predictive modeling strategies to determine potential yield of admitted students, the admissions office decided they could accept 18 percent, around 1,300 of the total applicants, in order to remain within a fixed class size of 535.
Despite an increasingly demanding selection process, the criteria used by the Admissions Office to choose students remain the same.
“There’s a constellation of characteristics that we prize,” Garcia said. “If I were to point to one thing, it has to be the academic accomplishments or achievements of that student.”
Garcia has noticed a distinct rise in median test scores of the recent, more selective classes; however, he expresses that this is still not the main factor they look at while making their decision.
“It’s not always the person with the perfect test scores. It’s not always the person with straight As,” Garcia said. “[Their academic engagement] reveals itself in many different ways.”
Garcia explains that the office carefully looks at a student’s essays, recommendations, and test scores collectively, ultimately trying to get a sense of how the student will fit in the academic environment of our school.
“We’re looking for intellectual engagement, which is sort of the umbrella term that I use,” Garcia said.
A larger pool of applicants does not only imply more selective academic criteria, but also naturally lends itself to the potential for greater diversity at CC.
Although the extent of diversity in the incoming class will not be concluded until admitted students make their final decision, the distribution of financial aid, which was released along with decisions, allows us to get a picture of what this large group of applicants might mean for future diversity.
According to Jim Swanson, Director of Financial Aid, this year the financial aid office has been given $8.8 million to allocate to individuals of the Class of 2018. This is roughly $1 million more than last year.
This increase in funding allows for the possibility of broader socioeconomic diversity on campus.
“There is a larger percentage of admits whose family incomes are under $108,000 per year who are being admitted and funded with CC grants this year,” Swanson said.
More statistics about demographics will be available after May 1, when students are required to notify the school of their decision. Until then, only speculation is possible for the diversity potential of this historically large applicant class.
The admissions office cannot point to one specific reason explaining the trend in rising application numbers; however, admissions officers generally attribute much of it to the work that the school has been putting into outreach over the past few years.
“This year’s results are probably something we’ve been doing the past ten years to get to where we are today,” Garcia said.
Currently, the admissions office is in the process of reaching out to admitted students and waiting to hear back from everyone, at which time they will be able to officially present the incoming Class of 2018.