Stanford will no longer announce undergraduate application numbers

“Stanford’s policy shift is intended to help de-emphasize the perceived importance of low admit rates at colleges and universities. The university will continue to publicly report application data to the federal government at the end of the admission cycle.” …

Sounds like a good move. When you’re that selective, you don’t need to brag about it.

I suspect there’s a point at which lower and lower acceptance rates may cause students not to apply, perhaps students that the college is looking for. Stanford has jumped the shark, so to speak, as a viable option, and I don’t think I’m the only one to hold that view; there were internet memes last year joking that Stanford didn’t really exist and of course the NYT spoof piece on a 0% acceptance rate.

(I wonder something similar about UChicago RD, i.e., why bother. And Harvard? Please.)

I’ll have to think some more, but I’m not sure that not reporting is really beneficial to students.

In addition, if Stanford continues to report to the government, the rate will end up in the NCES website eventually anyway - it won’t go unnoticed.

Sure, the data will be there for people to find and I’m sure the media and other interested parties will do so but Stanford is choosing to not add to the hoopla about tooting their own horn and I respect them for that decision.

Since all Acceptance rates have been hugely impacted by the common app (more applicants for the same spaces) its rather dishonest for schools to tout these rates especially in light of the lawsuit against Harvard where the numbers are even smaller than “advertised” It may be a quasi legal move as well.

or (gasp!), Stanford thinks it will get less applications next year

@evergreen5: I agree with your observation. In my opinion, this is a ridiculous announcement that even spoof writers wouldn’t try to pass off as serious.

This is a ridiculous and self-congratulatory move. Of course reporters will be all over the data as soon as it is released - it just pushes back the admit rate reveal date and will make everyone even more anxious about it.

If Stanford were really concerned about their admit rate being too low it would stop doing ANY marketing/outreach to any students. No emails, no glossy mailings. Full stop.

you’d think that, with the ever-increasing demand for education, they’d maybe expand class sizes or something, even just slightly, to help stabilize their numbers, rather than hide negative data

Actually I think they do have plans to increase class size significantly.

Well… that’s an interesting new wrinkle.

The long standing hype over selectivity has been harmful:
It feeds the false belief that an outstanding education is only available at the most selective universities/colleges;
Many outstanding programs are not even reviewed as they do not belong to the “top 20;”
Stanford would like applicants not seeking just prestige, but seeking a creative place to grow.

Their position makes perfect sense to me. The hype surrounding selectivity is making their job more difficult and it is damaging the entire process. I’m old enough to remember the very successful “lion-hearted” Chrysler ads from the '50’s. The more horsepower, the better the vehicle? One popular metric should never define the selection process.

Thank you Stanford! You are trying to bring the discussion back on point!

This is worrisome. First, Stanford stops announcing numbers for REA. Now, it apparently will delay releasing numbers until federal filings mandate that certain data be revealed.

The question is: why this opaqueness? My guess is to encourage even more applications. The vast majority of applications to a school like Stanford are—or should be—doomed from the start. But the retort is “you never know—why not apply?” Downplay the odds to get some additional applicants. Sort of like encouraging people to buy lottery tickets?

So, it is the talented students who don’t apply. The best way to do is probably accepting the beat ones.

We need more transparancy not less. The law suit from Asians which the DOJ just backed against Harvard tells us this.

Stanford will never have trouble attracting qualified students. Yes…it’s the lottery ticket sale price. Makes a nice fundraiser.

^ The message is that stanford can’t see the whole pool of the ‘talented students.’

I think the problem is not the low admit rate but whether a talented applicant will be accepted, especially the Asians.

I do think the low acceptance rates and the opacity of the admissions processes at all elites are working to discourage applications from the small pool of students with truly top ability. Everyone knows the miniscule acceptance rates are misleading - most applicants are instant rejects at HYPSM, for instance. Nevertheless, the large numbers of remaining viable applicants imply that there is going to be some randomness to the process. Enough that some extraordinary applicants will judge that using their ED bump at just below the EA HYPSM level is wise.

This discussion was created from comments split from: Stanford to stop publicly announcing admission numbers.

Stanford announces their numbers and gets criticized. Stanford decides not to announce their numbers and gets criticized. Sounds right.