This year has produced record numbers for the admissions department as they try to keep the class size at a reasonable size following last year’s spike in freshmen.
UR received roughly 11,650 applications this year, a record high. Last year’s total was 11,195. The admissions department has given out roughly 4,800 offers of admission, a record low acceptance rate of approximately 41 percent.
The reason for this sharp drop is to avoid a situtation similar to last year, when a large number of the 5,137 students offered admission accepted. The result was an unprecedented freshman class of 1,102. The large class size had negative effects, such as multiple doubles in freshman dorms being converted into triples.
By lowering the acceptance rate from 45 percent to 41 percent, the admissions department hopes to avoid a similar situation.
Although 1,100 students have sent in acceptance deposits, Admissions estimates that due to changing plans over the summer, the actual number of students will be in the vicinity of 1,045.
The demographics of the application pool have changed to a certain extent over the past few years. The school is receiving many more applications from abroad, as well as out of state. This year’s freshman class was made up of 50 percent in-state students and 50 percent out-of-state. Next year, 57 percent of the freshman class will be out of state.
Also, receiving a scholarship from UR has become much more competitive.
“UR has been famous for a long time for offering scholarships that were almost automatic,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jon Burdick said. “That has changed rapidly in the last few years.”
Most notably, the merit scholarship fund was decreased from $3.6 to $2.6 million the year before last.
In the long term, the University plans on increasing the size of the student body. The school has hired a consultant who is developing a number of models to determine how many students the school can handle.
Possible models range up to a 25% increase over the next several years, but the number will most likely be much less, according to Burdick.
He stressed that the decision is not entirely about housing, but also dependent on how many faculty the administration can hire so UR can maintain a high faculty-student ratio. He expects the increase to be in the 10-15 percent range, but says that the decision is still very much in the air.
“No one is sure where the final number will be,” Burdick said. “But expect slow, steady growth.”Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.