’08 class biggest yet
This year’s crop of incoming students include a record 5150 applications next year, the first time this figure has ever crossed 5000, the College of Arts and Sciences expects a first-year class enrollment of 630, not including approximately 40 Double Degree students and about 150 Conservatory students, for a total of more than 800, only slightly larger than the first-year classes of the past few years.
Admissions attributes the increase in applications to several factors, including a general rise in college applications and the efforts of Oberlin admissions officers, who traveled to more than 700 high schools this fall and attend many college fairs. For the first time, Oberlin used an outside firm to handle 180,000 e-mails to high school students.
For the past few years, contact with students through the mail has been waning as high schoolers increasingly use the internet to research colleges. Out of all of the colleges using the e-mail service, Oberlin had the second highest rate of students responding to the e-mails.
The Conservatory also reported a record 1,200 applicants.
In order to make room for the first-years, the College will allow all seniors and many juniors to live off campus. Barrows will remain an all first-year dorm but will be joined by Dascomb, which will house only first-years as well. As in other years, spots are reserved for first-years in program houses and in all but upperclass dorms.
A demographic profile of these soon-to-be residents presents results similar to those in the classes of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, with a few exceptions. Once again, Oberlin will receive many students from New York, Washington D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and various pockets of the west, including Portland, Seattle and San Francisco.
The College has slightly more international applicants than in years past, with a total of 680.
A slight shift can be found in an increased number of incoming first-years from Ohio, which will most likely represent 15 percent of next year’s first-year enrollment. Dean of Admissions Debra Chermonte suggested this might be due to an increased effort to draw Ohio students.
As in past years, Oberlin hopefuls also applied to schools similar to Oberlin in a combination of size and educational philosophy. Popular choices included Carleton, Wesleyan, Brown, Grinnell, Yale and Macalaster.
“One would think that Yale’s top competitor in northeast Ohio would be Harvard,” a Yale recruiting alumnus for Ohio said. “It’s Oberlin. I have a hell of a time trying to convince these kids to come to Yale.”
Many first-years’ decisions to attend are dependent on their financial aid packages. Despite some dissatisfied students, Oberlin College Financial Aid maintained a 100 percent need-fulfillment policy for the class of 2008. The average award for this class is around $26,000, with the average grant at just under $20,000. About 515 of the incoming first-years will receive some form of financial aid. These statistics are all similar to last year.
As state and federal monies decrease slightly, Oberlin picks up the costs. Nevertheless, the average loan amount per year remains around $4,300 and average indebtedness at graduation for the class of 2008 will most likely be similar to that of the class of 2004, at about $13,000.
Director of Financial Aid Rob Reddy reminded all students to file their financial aid forms.
“Please get your financial aid paperwork in as soon as possible,” Reddy said. “The priority deadline was April 23. Please.”