For the fifth consecutive year, the University received a record number of applications from students hoping to attend the University in the fall — 39,570 applicants compared to last year’s 31,613, according to University Provost Philip Hanlon.
Hanlon wrote in an e-mail interview he credits the increase to the University’s switch to the Common Application — a website that allows students to apply to multiple universities with one application.
“Because the University of Michigan went to the Common App this year, we anticipated some increase in application numbers, but I was surprised by the growth in application numbers that we have actually experienced,” Hanlon wrote.
He added that the prestige of the University and the value of receiving a degree from the University draw students to apply.
“This surge in applications, particularly from non-residents, is one more sign that students and parents across the country recognize the value of a University of Michigan degree,” Hanlon wrote.
Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of Undergraduate Admissions, said the University expected an increase in applicants when they joined the Common App since other schools that made the switch over the years have seen between a 6-percent and 30-percent increase.
Spencer added that while the website makes it easy for students to apply to many schools at once, it’s not the only reason for the increase. In fact, Spencer said the University has seen a surge in applicants for 10 years prior to when they switched to the new application.
The academic reputation of the University makes people want to apply, Spencer said, and over the past several years the greatest increase in applicants has been among out-of-state students.
“Michigan has an outstanding academic reputation. We have outstanding faculty, we have outstanding facilities and we have outstanding students,” he said.
Furthermore, the University’s more than 300 majors and approximately 3,000 courses are a “big draw” to high school seniors looking to apply to college, Spencer said.
He added the increase in financial aid — namely the $137 million increase the University’s Board of Regents approved this year in light of state budget cuts to higher education — also serves as an incentive for students to apply to the University.
“Anything we can do to reduce the cost of an education is an incentive,” Spencer said. “It can’t do anything but help.”
Due to these incentives, the University is expecting the entering class to be about 5,970 students — approximately 500 students less than last year, Spencer said.
As of June, 16,046 applicants were offered admission and 6,540 paid the enrollment deposit, but even those who paid the deposit may not choose to attend the University in the fall, according to a July 13 University press release.
The press release also said admissions are based on a holistic review of the individualized information received about each applicant, including the high schools students attend and if those schools are not already significantly represented at the University.
The University received 4,265 applications from underrepresented minority students — a 14.8-percent increase from last year — and 1,576 were offered admission, which is a decrease of 3.7 percent, according to the release.
The University will announce the final statistics as well as an analysis of applicants by race, gender and other specifics in October, the release said.