Admissions accepts record-low percentage

Lee Betancourt

Villanova received 13,742 applications for undergraduate admissions for the ’07-’08 school year, a record number in the school’s history, Dean of Enrollment Management Stephen Merritt said. But, another record was set that may be just as, if not more important, than the record amount of applications. For the first time in the University’s history, the acceptance rate went below 40 percent, coming in at 39 percent.This year’s applications were up 6.4 percent from last year’s, an increase of 829 applications. Earlier this year, the 4,739 early action applications for 2007-’08 represented an increase of 603 applications, 14.6 percent. “I think we’re seeing the cumulative effect of a lot of success in the last 10 or 15 years,” Merritt said. “We’re increasing in popularity every year because people come to Villanova, have a good experience and tell other people.”The school hopes that its acceptances will render a class of 1,595 students, a number that was the target for this year as well. Admissions officials are hoping for 635 students in liberal arts, 255 in sciences, 385 in business, 235 in engineering and 85 in nursing. This year’s freshman class stood at 1,634 students, 39 over the expected number.As of Tuesday morning, 360 students had paid their deposits. “A lot of students wait until the absolute last minute because they have so many options,” Merritt said. “We were at a similar point this time last year.”Of the students currently considering Villanova, 47 percent are men and 53 percent are women. Twenty-one percent of accepted students are minorities. Eight percent are the children of alumni, and 17 percent are related to alumni in some way.Applicants came from 48 states; Washington, D.C.; the Virgin Islands; Guam; and Puerto Rico. Students from 81 foreign countries also applied. Merritt said that the University only anticipates that 80 students in the incoming freshman class will commute from home. Eighty percent of accepted students are in the top 10 percent of their high school class, Merritt said. Of these, 369 accepted students ranked No. 1, 2 or 3 in their high school class, including 167 valedictorians. Of accepted students, 1,849 had a GPA of 4.0 or better. The middle 50 percent of SAT scores for accepted students was 1270-1410; the middle 50 percent of ACT scores was 29-32. The middle 50 percent GPA was 3.69-4.05. The increasing quality of students is not only evident from their GPAs and test scores, Merritt said. “We have so many students who were class presidents, in National Honor Society, involved in their communities or varsity athletes,” he said. “You can really see how involved they are at leadership levels.” Of the accepted students, 60 percent applied for financial assistance, Merritt said. The school has set aside $12 million for need-based financial aid. Once other sources of grants and loans are factored in, the average financial aid package offered by the University will be $23,000. The University has also allotted for 17 full-tuition Presidential Scholarships and four full-tuition Underrepresented Presidential Scholarships, Merritt said. In addition, Villanova aims to enroll 108 transfer students but has just begun to review their applications.