Admission yields results

September 27, 2000

Mark Miester

The Office of Undergraduate Admission may have accepted almost 10 percent fewer students this year, but that reduction was still not enough to stop the class from exceeding its target enrollment by more than 100 students. At 1,593 students, the incoming class exceeds the Office of Undergraduate Admission's target enrollment by 118. The average SAT score was 1295.

"We're becoming a more attractive place for students to attend," says Richard Whiteside, vice president for enrollment management. "Our outreach is greater than it's ever been before. We're in contact with many more students, and I think the message about what we're doing here is getting more effectively into the kids' hands."

That's the only explanation Whiteside could offer. From a pool of 8,245 applications, undergraduate admission accepted 6,011 students this year, 534 fewer than last. It, however, enrolled 1,593 students, just 39 fewer than last year. The 8 percent drop in offers resulted in only a 2 percent drop in enrollments.

"We accepted a lot fewer students this year than last, but we had a much bigger increase in yield," said Whiteside. This year's yield-the percentage of students offered admission who choose to enroll-was 26.5 percent, up 1.6 percent over last year's yield and 3.1 percent over 1998's enrollment, which hit the enrollment target of 1,475.

Whiteside adds that financial aid offers made to this year's class remained at the same level as last year, so financial aid is not a factor. After two consecutive years with a larger-than-anticipated freshman class, Whiteside hopes to bring next year's class back to the target of 1,475.

"We want to increase the yield, reduce the number of acceptances and increase the quality," Whiteside says. To do this, Whiteside says admission is adjusting its strategy for recruiting students. Two changes have already been made.

One was the reinstituting of its Early Action application, which enables prospective students who submit their applications by Nov. 1 to be notified of Tulane's decision by Dec. 15. Regular admission, in contrast, has an application date of Jan. 15 with offers to be made by April 1. There is also a new Fast Track Application.

"We've invited the best 35,000 students in the inquiry pool to apply to us with the application fee waived," Whiteside says. "They got them the last week in August and we're already beginning to get some of them back."

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