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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Admissions woos South and West

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Ten years ago, about half of all Carleton students came from the Midwest. Over the past decade, admissions has seen that proportion decrease to about 40%.

Emerging statistics released by current demographic studies suggest that over the course of the next several years, there will be a sustained increase in the number of high school students graduating from the South, Northwest, and the West Coast, along with a decrease in those graduating from the Northeast and Midwest. As a result of this, the Strategic Plan that the College launched around two years ago suggested that Admissions increase their efforts to attract students from those regions with increasing numbers of high school graduates, while sustaining their presence in the Northeast and Midwest.

In order to attract students from typically hard-to-get regions such as the South, Admissions has implemented several strategic changes.

“We’ve been a membership partner of [the Posse Foundation], for about 10 years,” Dean of Admissions Paul Thiboutot said. “It’s a national organization that has a goal to attract 10 non-traditional students from a particular urban environment. Well we deliberately made a change, after picking Posse for some 12-13 years from Chicago, to Houston in the South…That was deliberate on our part; that might help us attract more Texans.”

Questbridge is another national organization that has helped attract more students from the South as well as from the West Coast.

According to Thiboutot, these efforts to attract students from these regions have begun to show some measure of success.

“We have seen increases in applications from all these regions, though the one exception is probably the Northwest where we haven’t seen a sustained increase. [Applications from the Northwest are] fluctuating, but we will continue the efforts,” Thiboutot said.

In terms of students who actually choose to enroll in the College, Admissions has seen percentages increase from 17% to 22% from the West Coast, and an increase from 5% to 10% for international students. Students from the South have remained at around 8%.

These efforts to attract students from given regions may raise questions of the importance regions in the actual admissions process. Although region does play a role in admissions decisions, it never has been, nor will be, a major factor.

“From a pool of equally qualified applicants, then we might give some- one an edge from a given region,” Thiboutot said. “Location could be a tipping factor in an application. But to say that we’d admit someone just because they’re from a given state – probably not.”

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