5C Admission Rates Drop for Classes of 2016

In keeping with a national trend, admissions rates are down from last year for the class of 2016 at the Claremont Colleges, 5C admissions officers said.    

This year, Pitzer College admitted only 15.7 percent of applicants, a significant decrease from their 24 percent admissions rate for last year’s class. Scripps College saw a 6 percentage point drop in admissions from last year, resulting in a 30 percent admissions rate. Pomona College had an admissions rate of 12.8 percent compared to 13.6 percent last year while Harvey Mudd College (HMC) had a 17 percent admissions rate, down from 21 percent in the previous year. Claremont McKenna College (CMC) recorded the lowest admit rate in school history at 12.4 percent.           

“The [SAT] incident didn’t have an effect on the number of applications given that we received—over 5,000, the highest ever in CMC’s history, and a 12 percent increase over last year,” said CMC Associate Vice President of Public Affairs, Communications and Marketing Max Benavidez.    

HMC, Pitzer and Scripps experienced similar increases in applications. HMC had a 14 percent increase in applicants, Pitzer had a 13 percent increase with 4,227 students applying and Scripps had a 10 percent increase in applicants with 2,373 applicants.    

Admissions officers at several of the 5Cs said that they sought to increase their national presence to attract students who would fit their unique communities.    

“This year, we have used technology in different ways to reach out to students. For example, by participating in online college search companies like Zinch and Cappex, we can connect with more and different students and respond directly to their inquiries,” wrote Scripps Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid Victoria Romero in an e-mail to TSL.    

While the SATs have become a hot topic at the 5Cs following CMC’s scandal, a record 72 percent of the admitted class at Pitzer did not submit standardized test scores because the college is test-optional. For those students who did submit testing, the average SAT score was 671 for verbal and 666 for math, said Pitzer Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Angel Perez.    

Perez also reiterated the school’s commitment to not altering its identity in order to please college rankers such as U.S. News and World Reports.      

“At Pitzer admissions rates are not necessarily how we want to be evaluated," Perez said. "You are not going to see that blasted on our webpage.”      

The rest of the 5Cs require standardized tests and reported slightly upward-trending SAT scores. For Scripps, the middle 50 percent of SAT scores for admitted students was 670-750 for verbal and 650-730 for math, Romero wrote in an e-mail to TSL.           

The middle 50 percent of SAT scores of admitted students at HMC was 690-780 for verbal and 750-800 for math, according to Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid Thyra Briggs. CMC's admitted students had a median SAT verbal score of 720 and a median math score of 730, slight increases from the admitted students for the class of 2015, according to data provided by CMC Director of Admissions Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs. Pomona College admitted students had an SAT median of 740 for verbal and 750 for math, ten points up from last year, said Associate Dean of Admissions David Brunk.      

Briggs, Brunk and Sandoval-Dancs reported an increase in admitted international students at HMC, Pomona and CMC. The increase is a trend at colleges and universities across the country, Sandoval-Dancs said.    

With the increased competition for a limited number of spots at top colleges, anxious students are working hard to make the cut.     

“What we found interesting is that more and more students are not identifying their roots or ethnicity on their application,” Perez said. “I think part of that has to do with fear of discrimination with so many articles saying that if you’re Asian or Caucasian you might get discriminated against.”    

CMC saw a significant increase in early decision applications, Sandoval-Dancs said. Early decision admission rates for applicants at top colleges are often higher than regular decision admission rates.    

“Admission is a funny business because it changes every single year,” Perez said. “I hope that we continue with these strong numbers of applications.”