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Feb. 24, 2009

Record-Breaking Year for Smith College Applications

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – While stock figures on Wall Street are down, an important number on Smith College’s main street is up. This year, Smith received the largest number of applications in its history.

A record 4,009 young women applied for a spot in the Smith Class of 2013, an  increase of 6 percent over last year. The boost was foreshadowed by an uptick in campus visits from prospective students during recent months.

“It’s hard to say what effect the economy had on this pool of applicants,” said Karen Kristof, senior associate director of admission. “What we can and do say to prospective students is that even in these challenging times Smith remains committed to meeting the financial need of all admitted students.”

The Office of Admission recorded the most significant increase in applications among students of color – a 12 percent boost. That jump reflected the college’s continued emphasis on working with community-based organizations to connect with students, said Kristof.

Smith also experienced a 9 percent surge in applications from international students for the Class of 2013. Several countries reflected double-digit increases: Vietnam increased by 46 percent to 50 applicants; Pakistan by 45 percent to 75 applicants; and Korea by 16 percent to 104 applicants.

Outside the U.S., China remained the country with the single largest number of applicants. A total of 317 Chinese nationals applied to Smith, which reflected a 5 percent increase over last year.

Another difference between this year and last was Smith’s decision to make SAT scores optional. However, 60 percent of those for whom it was optional still submitted their scores, according to Kristof.

Two categories of students applied to Smith at lower rates this year than last: Ada Comstock Scholars (a group of non-traditional aged students that is largely drawn from community colleges) and transfer students (a group that typically comes from other four-year institutions). Smith received 16 percent fewer applications, a total of 187, from Ada Comstock Scholars and 5 percent fewer applications, a total of 150, from transfer students.

The admission office must now whittle down the pool of 4,009 first-year applications to a number that will eventually result in an entering class of about 645 students.

Letters admitting, denying or wait-listing first-year applicants will be mailed March 20. Those for Ada Comstock Scholars and transfer students will be mailed exactly a week later.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.


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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