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The Carletonian

Record low acceptance rate, record high diversity in 2023 admit pool

<rleton accepted 19.2 percent of applicants in this year’s admissions cycle, marking the college’s lowest acceptance rate to date. Admissions accepted 1,401 students from a pool of 7,321 applicants to the class of 2023, a three percent increase from last year’s applicant pool of 7,095 students, according to Vice President and Dean of Admissions Paul Thiboutot.

At least 40 percent of this year’s admitted students identify as U.S. students of color or international students. Thiboutot stressed that despite Admissions’ excitement about having admitted the most diverse applicant pool to date in terms of U.S. students of color and international students, the office cannot yet say what the class will look like in terms of enrollees.

On April 1, Admissions completed its regular decision (RD) admission process. Accepted Students have until May 1 to make their decision.  

The college will host Accepted Students Days on April 11-12 and April 18-19. “Sign-ups for these are already robust and we look forward to hosting hundreds on overnights and class visits on these days,” said Thiboutot.

Admissions will not be able to report on class of 2023 demographics until May, when students will have committed. Thiboutot said that “if our projected yield hopes come through, we may be welcoming one of the most diversified classes on multiple measures, from geographic origins, cultural experience and socio-economic backgrounds. For now, we are just crossing our collective fingers and toes on that hope.”

The college hopes to enroll 520 students in the class of 2023.

Admissions has already enrolled 228 students, or 43.5 percent of the incoming class, through its two ED rounds. In previous years, the proportion of the class enrolled through ED “ranged between 39-42 percent,” Thiboutot said. One of the reasons Admissions decided to admit more of the incoming class through ED was to ensure that the college would be able to enroll a higher proportion of students of color, according to Thiboutot.

The ED pool consists of 10 percent international students and 33 percent domestic students of color, the highest-ever proportion of domestic students of color to be enrolled through ED, according to Thiboutot. Students admitted to the class of 2023 through ED hail from 35 states and eight countries.

The ED pool is also more socioeconomically diverse, with about 30 percent of ED enrollees designated as middle-income. Last spring, the Carletonian reported that the college’s middle-income designation includes household incomes between $42,000 and $170,000.

For 2019-20, the college plans to increase its need-based financial aid budget by 7.2 percent. Thiboutot said that increasing the financial aid budget helps the college admit a more diverse applicant pool, but growing the budget is not cause alone for this year’s increases in admission to underrepresented groups across the board.

Increasing the need-based financial budget will primarily allow the college to continue to provide financial aid to current students whose household incomes are not rising at the same rate as tuition, but will also support efforts to enroll higher-need students.
The college’s 2019-20 comprehensive fee will increase by 4.25 percent to $71,769, the first time in the college’s history that tuition will surpass $70,000. The 2018-19 comprehensive fee was $68,844.

The incoming cohort of Posse Scholars, all from Texas, has 11 students, up from the usual 10. “We couldn’t narrow ourselves down,” Thiboutot added. Carleton also matched with eight QuestBridge scholars during its 2018 National College Match process and admitted more QuestBridge students via RD.

The Posse Foundation recruits a diverse group of talented students with leadership potential, typically from the same metropolitan area, and equips them with ongoing mentorship. Partner colleges like Carleton provide full-tuition scholarships to students recruited through Posse.

QuestBridge recruits low-income high school seniors to top U.S. colleges and universities through its own early admission process. QuestBridge applicants who do not match with colleges in December are still eligible to be considered for RD admission. The organization looks for academically outstanding students from households with annual incomes below $65,000 for a family of four, and partner colleges provide full-tuition scholarships, according to its website.

Admissions continued to accept applications via the Coalition Application. Thiboutot said that Admissions saw about 40 more Coalition Applications, or a 20 percent increase compared to last year’s number of Coalition Applications to Carleton. Still, most applicants to Carleton use the Common Application. The Coalition Application was founded in 2015 with the goal of improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented groups, and is currently in use at 140 U.S. colleges and universities.

“We’re looking for a spark of mind and curiosity that goes beyond what an SAT score will show and what a ranking will show,” Thiboutot said.

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