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December 5, 2002

Number of applicants likely to set record

The number of students applying to be freshmen at the Pittsburgh campus in fall 2003 probably will exceed 20,000 — topping the current record of 15,888 freshman applications, set last year — according to projections by Pitt's Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Office director Betsy A. Porter said: "As we're looking to slightly reduce our freshman class for next fall, our admissions committee will be challenged to look long and hard in determining which students to accept from among an academically impressive applicant pool."

In a planned reduction aimed at trimming undergraduate class sizes, Oakland expects to offer admission to about 7,800 freshman applicants and enroll 2,795 of them, said Porter.

That's down from 8,700 accepted applicants and 3,123 enrolled freshmen here for fall 2002.

As of last week, 10,142 students had applied to be Pittsburgh campus freshmen next fall. That's 16.5 percent more than the number who had applied last year at this time.

(Under the University's rolling admissions policy, Pitt does not set an official deadline for applications but continues to accept them as long as slots remain for qualified students.) Among the 2,998 freshman applicants to whom Pitt had offered admission as of last week, the average SAT scores were 618 (verbal) and 639 (math), and 55 percent rank in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

But those numbers probably won't be so high among the students who actually enroll as freshmen here next fall, said Porter.

"At this point in the process, the academic credentials among our admitted applicants always run higher than those of the students who end up enrolling here as freshmen," she said. "That's true at most universities, except for the Ivy League schools. It's because, at this time of the year, your pool of admitted applicants includes some extremely qualified students to whom you're only one of many schools where they're likely to be admitted."

Last year at this point, for example, 50 percent of the Pittsburgh campus's 2,723 accepted applicants ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

But among the 3,112 freshmen who actually enrolled here in fall 2002, 39 percent held that distinction.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 35 Issue 8

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