College has lowest acceptance rate ever, touting CAPS resources

The University cites improved student services as primary factor in increased interest in the U of C.

By Anthony Gokianluy

The University admitted the lowest percentage of applicants in the College’s history this year.

Thirteen percent of applicants to the College for the Class of 2016 were admitted, the lowest rate ever: 3,344 students were admitted from 25,277 applicants, after the College saw a 16.1 percent increase in applications from last year’s admissions cycle.

“In general, this year’s increase follows a longstanding trend of growing interest in the College among students of high ability from around the world,” said University spokesperson Jeremy Manier.

Meanwhile, plans are in place to construct more dormitories, Manier said, explaining that one long-term goal of the University’s is to accommodate 70 percent of College undergraduates in campus housing, up from about 53 percent.

Manier suspected that the increase in internship and job opportunities from the Career Advising and Placement Services (CAPS), including roughly 450 Metcalf fellowships, prompted more students to apply. Over the last three years, the number of first-years scheduling appointments with CAPS counselors has grown fivefold.

The University’s popularity among international student applicants has also grown, possibly as a result of the growing profile of international alumni. Justin Yifu Lin (Ph.D. ’86), the Chief Economist at the World Bank, spoke at the International House in January, which China’s Xinhua news service covered.

Manier expects awareness of the College among international students to grow alongside the University’s international programs, such as those in Beijing. Representatives from China, the UK, Sweden, and other countries also attended Mitt Romney’s Illinois Primary speech at the Harris School of Public Policy last month.

Since James Nondorf assumed the position of Dean of Admissions and Financial aid in 2009, the number of College applicants has increased 85.8 percent.

Fourth-years, the last College class to have been admitted on the Uncommon Application, were pleased with the University’s surging popularity.

“The increased selectivity maintains the type of intellectual atmosphere UChicago wants because of the increase in the quality of applications,” Richmond Chua, a fourth-year in the college, said.

Students from the recently admitted Class of 2016 have expressed their desire to join the ranks of UChicago intellectuals.

“Above anything else that I hope to be someday, educated or disciplined or successful, I want to be a thinker,” said prospective student Aurna Hasnie. “I can’t wait.”