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April 3, 2003

Freshman applications running ahead of last year

The number of students who have applied to be freshmen at the Pittsburgh campus next fall is running ahead of last year’s record-setting pace.

As of March 20, 16,995 students had applied to be freshmen this fall, compared with 15,397 by the same date last year.

The average SAT score among this year’s applicants is 1152, some 15 points higher than the average among last year’s applicant group at this point.

Some 27 percent of this year’s applicants graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. That’s the same percentage of top-10-percent applicants as last year at this time. But Pitt should be able to be even choosier in admitting students this year, both because the current applicant group is larger and because Pitt plans to reduce its number of freshmen next fall to 2,795 students (down from last fall’s 3,112) to trim class sizes.

“The fact that we have so many highly qualified applicants will make the selection process that much more difficult this year,” said Betsy A. Porter, director of Admissions and Financial Aid. “We’ll have more highly qualified applicants than we will have space for.”

As part of its plan to admit fewer freshmen, Pitt has offered admission to fewer applicants this year (8,135) than last year at this time (8,429).

The number of admitted applicants who have made deposits is down by 247 students to 1,059 compared with last year at this time — a decline that Porter attributed to this year’s 50 percent increase in Pitt’s non-refundable deposit fee, to $300.

“Raising the deposit fee was a conscious move aimed at decreasing the number of students who make a deposit just to hold a spot here in our next fall’s freshman class, while they continue to pursue offers from other schools,” Porter said.

— Bruce Steele

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