Amid record College applications, decision notifications to be sent March 23

Applicants to the undergraduate College at the University of Chicago will receive notification of admission decisions on March 23, marking the next stage in a year when applications to the College have continued a long-term trend of growth.

In all, 25,277 students applied for the class entering in the fall of 2012, a 16.1 percent increase over last year’s total of 21,765, and the most applications the College has ever received. This year’s applicant pool includes significant increases in applications from a diverse cross-section of students, including increased interest from African American, Latino and Asian students. Measures of academic achievement also continue to increase across the board among College applicants.

Of this year’s total, 8,698 were early-action applications, the largest number of early applications the University has received. Early applications to the University of Chicago are non-binding, and students are free to apply elsewhere. Students who choose to apply early typically view UChicago as their first choice, so the increase is considered a healthy sign of growing interest in the College among students who can contribute to and benefit from the school’s distinctive academic culture.

John Boyer, dean of the College, recently was reappointed to a fifth term after 20 years of leading the undergraduate program’s commitment to liberal arts education. Boyer said the success of the College stems, in part, from the values of University founder William Rainey Harper, who believed the College should serve as a “crucible of democracy.”

“The idea was that we should be educating leaders in many fields, and the quality of their education should empower them to become leaders. That’s still the case today,” Boyer said.

This year’s applications show that the College is attracting more international students, more U.S. students from public schools, and more minority students than ever before, said James G. Nondorf, Vice President and Dean of College Admissions and Financial Aid. Across all applicants, measures of academic achievement also are rising.

Nondorf noted that the College is drawing increasing numbers of campus visits from prospective students and their families. The Office of College Admissions expects more than 2,000 students and their families for this year’s Spring Open House on March 30.

“The enthusiasm we see from students who want to be part of this community is inspiring,” Nondorf said. “When they’re able to meet our current students, hear presentations by College faculty members, and experience our campus and city, it’s a great chance for prospective students to think about what’s important to them in seeking the right school.”