Some applicants shown incorrect decision online

A slight glitch in the early admissions notification process may have caused temporary consternation among potential Dukies this year, but in general early admissions ran smoothly and without big surprises, said Director of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag.  


About 30 students were mistakenly listed online as "deferred" when they were in fact accepted. Guttentag said the fallacious notifications occurred due to a combination of technical and human errors in the company the University uses to post decisions online.  


However, Guttentag noted that the admissions office was able to contact everyone affected by the mistake the same day it was discovered. Fortuitously, the glitch did not force admissions officers to bear any bad news when they contacted affected students, as no one was mistakenly identified as "accepted" on the website.  


"They were all happy phone calls, which are always the best kind of phone calls to make," Guttentag said.  


Guttentag said the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has been working with the same company to post decisions online for a couple of years and have not run into any problems in the past, for either early or regular decisions.  


"Obviously we're not happy whenever a mistake is made like this, but even in the best environments mistakes happen," he said. "I know that the company is very committed to making sure this doesn't happen again."  


The University's selectivity decreased slightly for this year's early decision admissions, a statistic Guttentag attributed to normal year-to-year fluctuations in the admissions cycle. Of the 1,394 applications received, 496 were accepted for an acceptance rate of just under 36 percent. Last year, just under 33 percent of early undergraduate applicants were accepted. Selectivity for early admissions reached a record low of 32 percent in 2001.  


Guttentag said this year's 496 acceptances represent the lowest total in seven years, second only to last year's 472.  


For the Class of 2008, 428 of 1,197 students were accepted early into Trinity and 68 of 197 into the Pratt School of Engineering. Guttentag said the number of early applications into Trinity decreased slightly since last year, but the number into Pratt saw a slight increase.  


"It's hard to say how significant the Pratt numbers are because the early decision numbers are relatively small overall," Guttentag said. "We still had under 200 Pratt applications, but we were pleased to see that increase."  


He noted that the University has gradually increased its focus on Pratt applicants over the last few years, but that there was no large-scale initiative this year that could account for the increase in interest.  


"I think to a certain extent it's natural fluctuation," he said. "It may also be slightly due to the economy. People seem to be slightly more interested in the hard sciences and what are perceived to be practical areas of study like engineering during a weak economy."  


This year's crop of early admits includes 19 black students, 21 Latino students, 56 Asian students, one Native American student and 16 international students. Guttentag said these numbers represent slight drops for Latino and Asian students when compared to years past, but not by a significant amount.  


"When you're only dealing with 500 students admitted overall, fluctuations from year to year are not unusual, and we don't try to make each year's early decision group be the same as previous years," he said. "It's very much a result of just admitting students that are most compelling in this particular pool."  


This year, 180 of the 496 accepted students said they would be applying for financial aid.  


Guttentag said the 496 early admits represent 30 percent of the Class of 2008, which he hopes will number between 1,620 and 1,630 when all is said and done. Admissions officers have yet to sort through the thousands of regular applications, but they are expecting a total on par with recent years.


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