Colby’s Class of 2024 Breaks Records

"Receiving nearly 14,000 applications for the Class of 2024, Colby had the largest applicant pool in the College’s history, showing yet again the continuously growing demand and enthusiasm for a Colby education. Less than 10 percent of the 13,922 who applied were offered admission, and a record number of those students accepted Colby’s offer.

‘The members of the Class of 2024 represent a remarkable array of talents and perspectives,’ said Vice President for Enrollment and Communications and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Matt Proto. ‘Their level of academic achievement, as well as their ability to make a positive impact within their communities, are truly inspiring. We’re incredibly excited to welcome them to Colby.’" …

Aren’t Colby admissions up because of the free application? Same at Tulane.

@SealGray i would say it’s a multitude of things, honestly. the free application is part of it, i’m sure, but its financial aid program (the colby commitment) is one of the best in the nation, and definitely one of the best among the NESCAC schools, which already have the prestige factor locked down.

watching colby’s admission rate drop from ~20% when i applied to ~9% now is rather remarkable. good for them. they’re clearly doing something right.

In addition, Colby went test-optional a few years ago, doesn’t have a supplemental essay, and doesn’t require interviews (my D was accepted for 2024 w/out one).

Colby is a great school, no doubt, but is not on a par with other schools with similar admission rates. Personally, I find their strategy to achieve this admission rate annoying.

Colby today looks rather different from Colby 5 years ago. It’s more diverse, and they offer their students a lot of opportunities, all funded by the school. They have raised loads of money and put it into programs (especially FA) that have made them attractive to students who might not have considered them and into student programs. If you haven’t been on this campus very recently, you probably don’t know the school. The president has a lot to do with this. (I think they have only been TO for a year.)

The quality of the teaching is excellent and students develop close relationships with profs. Their strategy was about getting a very qualified student body that wasn’t all from NE prep schools (which was more what it was 5-10 years ago - the kids said that if you asked anyone where they were from, the answer was about 30 minutes outside Boston.)

Most LACs have traditionally been regional schools. And most LACs are realizing that their futures depend on them having a reach well beyond their region. Some of the NESCACs have had that for a while, and Colby is moving toward it too.

It’s been exciting to watch. And it’s not just an admissions ploy – there’s a great student experience awaiting the students who attend.

It’s a May article I wonder how much that has changed since then just by looking at what happened to WIlliams and Harvard. I doubt Colby has the same numbers right now.

The changes align with a new President and the Director of Admissions he hired. The President has done some interesting things, but I am not a fan of the admission practices. I have had direct interaction with him and a few of his staff and left Colby with a strong sense of their focus on rankings at all costs.

Nice school with good academics, but it isn’t like other schools with single-digit admit rates.

Acceptance rates aside, IMHO I think all of the nescac schools are excellent schools with strong academics. Colby is no exception. Love or hate David Greene (I fall somewhere in the middle), Colby really has a lot to offer and much of that has happened under his leadership. I would add that they have one of the strongest plans for reopening their campus this fall that I have seen.

Colby has a barbell-shaped tuition distribution among their student population: a majority are full pay, a small percentage are Pell Grant kids, and few are in the middle. I’ll give them credit in that they are experts at marketing though. And they are focused on being perceived as elite while downplaying how they achieve this. Vassar, Bowdoin, other similar highly ranked LAC colleges operate in a similar fashion.

Although it is technically true that the majority of Colby students are full pay, 46% of Colby students receive aid (at 100% need met) 18% of those students receive Pell Grants. At Bowdoin 51% of students receive aid (over 17% receive Pell Grants), and Vassar has over 60% (20% Pell Grant) students receiving aid. By comparison, at many Ivy League schools around 16% of their students receive Pell Grants and, depending on the school, anywhere from 43-61% of their students receive aid. At nescac schools it is around 39-55%. not a huge difference.

@xyz123a , agree with the assessment of the re-opening plan. Really solid. (Let’s hope it plays out well!) And whether it was marketing or otherwise, the school really went all out in placing kids who graduated in May. I think they understand hopes and expectations and are trying to meet them.

I don’t know DG personally. Most of the folks I know who work in higher education are pretty wowed by him. He has vision and he is executing… My guess is that he also has made some folks unhappy/angry with him. Change at this pace is hard to do without alienating people.

Whether you like it, think it’s overrated, etc, he is committed to positioning the school to succeed now and in the future. Increasingly, it’s becoming apparent that that is not going to be the case for many institutions.

Trying to provide some clarity on admissions policies. Colby has not charged a fee for electronically-submitted applications since 2005. See 2005-06 Common Data Set. In any event, not charging an application fee seems like an odd criticism of a college admissions office, given that that some argue these fees are a cash cow to colleges and certainly they are a barrier for lower income applicants.

An article from the archives of the Colby Echo suggests that the supplemental essay was dropped in the 2010-11 application cycle. See Colby Echo, Echo News Brief at 2 (Feb. 16, 2011).

It is true that Colby became test optional in 2018 (Wesleyan went test optional in 2014, Bates in 1984 and Bowdoin in 1969), but honestly, it looks as though a lot of schools are moving in that direction, pandemic notwithstanding.

It is true that Colby doesn’t offer evaluative interviews anymore, but neither does Middlebury, Amherst, or Williams.

None of these changes occurring over the last two decades, and which straddled administrations, is unusual. In fact, one could point to other schools (such as Chicago) which have gone through similar changes and similar reductions in admissions rates (Chicago’s admission rate in 2005 was 40%). As noted, you should focus on the education offered, not admissions.

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