admissions report: good news gets better
> Dramatic increases in
beginning to be as expected as word of another Chicago Nobel
laureate: autumn brings good news in College admissions. Interviewed
in September, Michael Behnke, vice president and dean of College
enrollment, emphasized this year's most telling figures. Several
statistics show dramatic increases in academic measures, while
others reveal what Behnke hopes is a strong trend toward increased
In the incoming class of 2000 (also known as the College class
of 2004), 63 percent of the students whose high-school classes
were ranked were in the top 5 percent. Two years ago, 43 percent
of the incoming class of 1998 ranked that high. "It's a very,
very dramatic increase," says Behnke, "and it's a reflection
of what these students have actually achieved in the classroom."
At the same time, an increasing percentage of entering students
applied as early-action applicants. Compared to 20 percent two
years ago, this year, 39 percent were early-action applicants.
Although Behnke explains that early-action, unlike early-decision,
doesn't mean that the College is a student' No. 1 choice, "it
means that very early in the senior year, these students had
decided that Chicago was a top choice."
One of 1999's admissions disappointments was in the number
of students of color. As part of an all-out effort, Behnke says,
"we developed new publications and expanded our mailings even
further. While the average incoming class has included 35-40
African Americans, as of September 8, 60 African Americans had
enrolled. Another sharp increase came in the numbers of Hispanic
students-from an average of 60 per class in recent years to
90 incoming students this fall.
During 1999-2000, more emphasis was placed on international
recruiting, with visits to Asia and Europe (this year, Latin
America is on the itinerary). "The Internet has allowed us to
communicate much more effectively with international students,"
says Behnke, "building on the University's reputation." The
result: from 60-plus students, the number of international students
in the incoming class of 2000 has swelled to 94.
Last but not least is good news on the rankings front. This
past spring, the National Merit Scholars rankings for the entering
class of 1999 were announced: Chicago, which was 21st in 1997
with 8 students, had moved up to 9th, with 139 students enrolled.
And in the widely publicized U.S. News and World Report's
2001 rankings, released in late summer as a guide for high-school
seniors, the College moved from 13th place last year into a
tie for 10th place.
"We're always happy to be recognized," says Behnke, "and we
certainly should be-based on any objective measurements, we're
among the very best." -M.R.Y.