Dartmouth Predicts Admissions Shifts

The Dartmouth: “With the recent release of admissions results for the Class of 2023, Dartmouth vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid Lee Coffin said that ongoing trends may necessitate different admissions strategies at the College. Specifically, the changing importance of different geographic regions has already resulted in alterations to Dartmouth’s admissions practices … Coffin also stated that, despite recent trends, the admissions rates of top colleges may not continue to decline … ‘At some point the pool has to start to contract,’ he said. ‘It’s some combination of the economy, demographics, just internationalism.’ For example, Coffin noted that a possible change in international relations could affect admissions numbers by drastically changing the size of the international admissions pool.”

“However, Coffin said that he did not believe such shifts would occur soon. Instead, he is focused on Dartmouth’s changing admissions strategy, which focuses on factors like socioeconomic diversity. ‘We were deliberately focusing this cycle on socioeconomic diversity as a way of syncing up with the capital campaign and its commitment to broader access,” he said. “We were really focusing on communities where we knew there was going to be low-income families, as well as middle-income families, and to be deliberate about expanding that.’ Furthermore, the admissions office is now focused on increasing yield when choosing applicants, which the office often achieves by using complex models that examine different variables.”

“‘I have to try and anticipate how many of you are going to say yes, and the higher that number, the fewer I can let in,’ Coffin said. ‘It’s a really precise calculation.’ He added that two of the variables considered were geography and academic credentials. For example, Coffin noted that these models demonstrate that a student from Florida is less likely to enroll than a student from New Hampshire. ‘You’re using the data that the admissions office generates to predict behavior,’ Coffin further explained. ‘The thing that always gets me nervous is [that] I’m predicting behavior of 18 year olds’.”