For the fifth time in six years, the college has received a record number of applications for the incoming class of 2021. So far, admissions has received 8,403 applications from prospective students.
Dean of Admissions Matt Hyde is pleased with the numbers and with the new range of places, both across the country and the world.
“If you look at the growth of the pool over the last number of years we’ve stayed regularly steady in our backyard, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, which we love, but we’ve been hustling in significant ways beyond it and doing what we can to create a brighter spotlight for Lafayette on the national stage,” Hyde said. “So growth in secondary and tertiary markets has been exciting to see.”
But Hyde doesn’t want to place too much weight on that number.
“I would never upend the success of our operation on a number, we will always select a fantastic class for this college regardless,” Hyde said. “We are growing enrollment, it’s nice to have a record applicant pool to select this class.”
The wide range of applicants is something President Alison Byerly said she also appreciates.
“Our pool is so rich now that we don’t need to expand infinitely in order to accommodate the number of increased admits we’d like to have every year,” she said. “That is, we already have many students in our pool that we can admit.”
Not only has the application rate increased, the yield rate has been climbing over the past couple of years, according to Hyde. The yield rate, the number of students who enroll out of the number of students admitted, was around 30 percent last year.
Both Hyde and Byerly said that the college has worked to increase the size of its applicant pool over the years.
“The focus is really on getting the deepest pool so as to be able to admit the students that we’d most like to admit rather than trying to achieve a particular number in terms of acceptance rate,” Byerly said.
Hyde noted the personal nature of the admissions office’s search for applicants.
“We are here to engage and inspire young people about all they have to look forward to in a college setting like this,” he said.
Byerly, like Hyde, said that while she believes numbers are important, in the end it’s about the people who will be a part of the college’s community.
She said that the college’s focus is not “to get the acceptance rate lower and lower just to achieve prestige,” but to find the “right students” for Lafayette.
“We want applications from students who are well-suited to Lafayette, whom we want to seriously consider,” Byerly said.