Although the number of undergraduate applications that the
University has received is down 18 percent from last year,
administrators have several reasons to remain optimistic about the
quality and quantity of students from the incoming freshmen
class.

In spite of significant changes made to the admissions process,
“the interest in the University is higher than we thought and
better than expected,” Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Ted Spencer said.

According to a statement released Thursday, despite the
decreased applications, the number of paid enrollment deposits that
the admissions office has received is up by 8 percent — 6,571
deposits compared to 6,060 from last year. The number of paid
enrollment deposits is the best gauge of class size in the fall at
this time of the year.

If this trend continues, the University expects to yield a
larger total than their freshman enrollment target of 5,545. Last
year’s enrollment was 5,511.

Spencer described the incoming class as “one of the
largest enrollments we’ve ever had,” and called the
quality of the incoming class “as strong as other years and
perhaps even stronger.” Quality refers to the overall student
enrollment average of high school grades, standardized test scores
and class ranking, Spencer said. The projected large influx of
students has other departments at the University anticipating
changes for the next academic year.

An increase in enrollment is “always a variable (housing
contends) with in the summer,” Director of Housing Public
Affairs Alan Levy said. “It may be more pronounced this
year.”

While numbers for housing applications are even more preliminary
than enrollment, Levy said the department already has contingency
plans for student overflow, which include permanent and temporary
housing. The University guarantees housing to every first-year
student who applies within deadline.

Last year, housing ran at over 100 percent capacity for female
living quarters and, to compensate, converted pre-designated
lounges with all amenities, such as a phone and Ethernet, into
rooms. Levy said similar actions may be taken for a
larger-than-predicted enrollment this year.

“As the numbers firm up, we’ll know one way or
another,” Levy said.

Levy also intends to allow students returning to housing to drop
their contracts without penalty. Normally, a voided contract would
incur charges to the student.

Similarly, schools such as the College of Literature, Science,
and the Arts and Engineering are making plans to open additional
course sections as needed, and student services such as orientation
will be adjusted to accommodate a larger incoming class, said
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson.

“We are doing everything we need to do, so when students
arrive in the fall, they will have the classes they want to take
and space to live in the campus area,” Spencer said.
“Plans are underway to accommodate our students, and we are
going to make sure they have a quality experience while
they’re here.”

The University also reports that applications from
underrepresented minority students are down 21 percent — 3
percent more than the total applicant pool.

Peterson said the discrepancy between all students and
underrepresented minorities is a result of the relatively small
pool of minority applicants. Small changes in numbers can create
large changes in percentages, she said. Furthermore the decrease in
black student paid enrollments is more than 13 percent.

The University also attributes these decreases to the transition
year that admissions is going through and reassures that, like
other schools who made changes, “typically application
numbers recover within a year or two,” Peterson said.

Peterson also emphasized that the numbers for paid enrollment
are not the same as those for student enrollment -—Each year,
there are a number of students who pay the deposit but later decide
not to attend the University.

These numbers are “close to final,” and the official
figures will not be available until after the third week of classes
in the fall, Peterson added.

The University credits the significant change in application and
enrollment numbers to several factors, including the revised
application process. As of May 16, the University received 21,261
applications compared to the 25,918 received at the same time last
year.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision that
LSA’s admissions policies were unconstitutional, the
University adjusted its application to include three additional
essays and more personal information from the applicant.

“People chose not to apply to Michigan because of the
additional essays that we required,” Spencer speculated.
“For students that Michigan was not their first choice, they
might not have elected to do the application.”

Other colleges, such as Ohio State University, who also altered
their admissions process, have seen decreases in applications. In
response to the Supreme Court’s decision, OSU added four
short essays to an application that previously required no
writing.

Total applications are down 15 percent from last year at OSU,
said Mabel Freeman, OSU’s assistant vice president for
undergraduate admissions. Freeman also describes the incoming class
as the “strongest academic pool of students ever.”
Additionally, OSU reports that applications from black students are
down 28 percent and down 2 percent for Hispanic students.

Peterson also attributes the decrease in applications to the
national trend of individual students applying to fewer
colleges.

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