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News Release

July 20, 2005

Smith College's Entering Class Sets Records for Selectivity and Diversity

Editor’s note: For profiles of some of the talented entering students, send e-mail to Kristen Cole at

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College received a record number of applications this year and will enroll the most selective and diverse entering class in its history, according to the Admission Office.

The college experienced a 14 percent increase in first-year student applications this year. Smith received 3,408 applications for the Class of 2009—216 of those Early Decision—and 639 first-year students will enter in the fall.

The selectivity rate for incoming first-year students—the percentage of applicants who were admitted—was 48 percent this year as compared to last year’s 57 percent.

Thirty percent of the class identifies as a student of color, an increase from 26 percent last year, and from 24 percent two years ago. This year’s ethnic breakdown is the following: 14 percent Asian American; 8 percent Latina; 7 percent African American; and 1 percent Native American.

“We are delighted that continued efforts to attract more students of color, especially through expanded relationships with high schools and community-based agencies, have been fruitful,” said Debra Shaver, director of admission. “Diversity, in every sense of the word, is one of our most important priorities.”

Although statistics cannot describe this year’s class of vibrant, intelligent and talented women, here are a few numbers that provide a glimpse of the incoming first-year students: About 1 in 5 students—19 percent—are first-generation college students.

  • Sixty-one percent of students whose high schools report class rank are in the top 10 percent of their classes.
  • The top five areas of study in which they indicate interest are English language and literature, biological sciences, psychology, government and engineering.
  • The top five U.S. states of origin are Massachusetts, New York, California, New Jersey and Connecticut.
  • For international students, the top five countries of origin are South Korea, China, Japan, Germany and, tied for fifth, India and Nigeria.
  • Nine percent of the students have a sister, mother or grandmother who is a Smith alumna.

In addition to those new undergraduates, 67 Ada Comstock Scholars—or nontraditional-aged students—culled from 225 applicants, and 69 transfer students, culled from 242 applicants, will increase the size of the entering class to 775.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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