Despite surge in applications, number of acceptances drops
As of last Friday, the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) received a record 27,000 applications, up 16 percent from last year, for its class of 2012, according to the UMCP Office of Undergraduate Admissions Associate Director Britt Reynolds. Despite the increase in incoming applications, UMCP reduced the number of designated seats for freshmen by 200 - from 4,250 to 4,050 - after last year's class was declared too large.
Maintaining faculty-student ratios and ensuring other affiliated state schools enroll enough students were also cited as reasons for the cut. "We pride ourselves on our faculty-student ratio, and there was no mandate to increase the faculty," Reynolds explained.
Earlier this month, the university sent letters to the first round of accepted applicants from a pool of students who applied before the university's priority deadline on Dec. 1. These accepted applicants represent about 90 percent of the 2012 class, as is typical, Reynolds said. The remaining acceptances will go in April to a final set of students who applied before the regular deadline on Jan. 20.
According to Reynolds, the university's promotion efforts and the history-making number of high school seniors are responsible for the increase in applications. "We've pushed very hard to get us out there, advertising our numerous honors programs and our internship opportunities, which come with our proximity to D.C.," Reynolds said.
Demographers have calculated that the size of the high school class of 2008 nationwide represents a peak number of students, reported Reynolds, who called it the "baby boom echo."
Reynolds also believed that high school students in general are applying to as many as twice the number of schools as in the past. "With the Internet, we've seen the typical student who applied to six to eight colleges now apply to 10 to 12 colleges," he said.
UMCP admissions officers are also dealing with a new problem that has made it more difficult to decide how many students to accept in the first round of applications. In the past, the school has depended on students' admission deposit, a sum of money that students send to the school upon acceptance of the admissions offer, as an indicator of whether that student will actually enroll. However, Reynolds said that more and more students are placing "double deposits," or giving deposits to more than one school, causing greater uncertainty for admissions officers.
One way UMCP deals with the uncertainty is to accept students for spring semester, which allows students to take one or two classes at College Park in the fall and then take a full schedule in the spring semester beginning in January. "It's too early to tell if we will offer more students spring admission than in the past," Reynolds said. "But spring admission students fill in for inevitable [drop outs]."
In-state applicants to UMCP are given preference, since by law only 30 percent of the student body can be out of state. About 45 percent of in-state students who apply are expected to be admitted this year, according to the Undergraduate Admissions office.
Greg Kohn. Greg Kohn is a native Marylander. He's lived in one house his whole life, played soccer since before he could talk, and loves to chant "09" when it's really quiet. He hates being called Gregory, and he wishes he were more organized. He was a … More »