The incoming Class of 2011 will be larger than expected and more diverse than any previous class, officials announced Monday.
The approximately 42 percent of admitted students who have decided to matriculate to Duke increased this year from less than 41 percent in 2006. This year's yield, however, still does not match the 43 percent rate for the Class of 2009.
Although the Office of Undergraduate Admissions did predict a slight increase in yield from last year, the actual increase was more than expected, said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions.
"Our assumptions were fairly conservative," Guttentag said of predictions for this year's yield. "Given all of the news coverage about Duke in the past year we weren't completely certain how that would ultimately manifest itself in the decision of students to enroll."
The total class size will be between 1,687 and 1,710 students, instead of the expected 1,665. The University extended offers of admission to 21 percent of the 19,206 applicants, making this year's admittance rate the lowest-and the incoming class the most selective-in University history. The Class of 2010 also set records for diversity.
Provost Peter Lange said the increased yield was positive news in the context of much of the negative media from the lacrosse case that has surrounded the University in the past year.
"We'd like to keep our yield rising, and this is very good in terms of last year," he said. "Duke's fundamental qualities as an institution have been understood by people even in the context of some publicity that might have put our quality in a lesser light."
Guttentag said more students from more places-both domestically and internationally-are considering Duke, and the incoming class is exceedingly strong.
"By the rating system we use----which takes into account not only academic credentials but also extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, interviews and the application essay-this class is even stronger than last year's superb class, and is one of the strongest on record," he wrote in a memo to Lange.
A record 44 percent of the class represents students of color, a marked increase from the 24 percent minority rate of 10 years ago, Guttentag said.
The class includes 500 Asian students, 105 Hispanic students, 156 black students and a record 138 international students.
Students in the class represent 45 of the 50 states and 47 foreign countries. Residents of North Carolina are the most represented in the class.
"The administration has certainly supported the admissions office in terms of making resources available so we can recruit actively and aggressively in more places than we used to," Guttentag said.
The number of applicants to the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences also reached an all-time high of 16,132.
Trinity Dean Robert Thompson wrote in an e-mail that the greater number of applications to Trinity contributed to the strength of the class and demonstrated the attractiveness of the University.
"We are proud of the increasing diversity of our class, as this gives us an opportunity to learn from each other, but we must all learn to constructively engage difference if we are to realize the benefits of diversity," he said.
Applications to the Pratt School of Engineering, however, dropped to about 3,000, a drop of 400. Officials speculated in April that the drop may have been a result of the lacrosse case.
Though 180 fewer applications were received this year than last year, Guttentag said the trend over the past few years has been positive. He said one beneficial change in the recruitment process this year was involving more enrolled students in off-campus recruitment.
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