Princeton offers admission to 10.2 percent of applicants

Princeton University has offered admission to 1,792 students, 10.2 percent of the record 17,563 students who applied for the class of 2010.

Acceptance letters were mailed March 29 to 1,193 students who applied through the regular decision process. Another 599 students who applied through early decision were admitted in December. The University expects 1,220 students to enroll in the class of 2010.

"We are delighted with the strength of the admitted group, especially their intellectual power," Dean of Admission Janet Lavin Rapelye said. "Their accomplishments outside the classroom are as impressive as their transcripts."

This marked the second consecutive year the University set a record for the number of undergraduate applications received. The number of applicants for the incoming class represents a 6 percent increase from the previous record of 16,529 students who applied for admission to the class of 2009.

Applicants were from 6,477 high schools and 125 countries. More than 7,000 applicants had average high school grades of A to A-, combined with scores of 700 or higher on each of the three sections of the SAT. Among the students from high schools that rank, 95 percent of the admitted applicants are in the top 10 percent of their class.

Admitted students come from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with California having the largest representation in the class of 2010, followed in order by New Jersey, New York and Texas. International students represent 9.7 percent of those admitted to the class and come from 53 countries, including Botswana, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Vietnam, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago, Finland, Korea and Zimbabwe.

Of the students offered admission, 52 percent are men and 48 percent are women; 44 percent are from minority backgrounds, including those who identified themselves as bi-racial or multi-racial; and 9.9 percent are children of Princeton alumni.

"The pool was broader and deeper than we expected this year," Rapelye said. "We had to make difficult decisions, and we had to disappoint many students. We did not have room for all the qualified applicants.

"We paid particular attention to students from families where no one had a college degree," Rapelye added. "Over the last three years, we have admitted a larger group of students from families with incomes below the national median than in the past. We believe that Princeton's generous financial aid policy, which replaces loans with grants, is the best in the country.  It makes it possible for students from all income levels to attend Princeton, and it allows all students who receive financial aid to graduate with no indebtedness." 

At the time admission letters were mailed, 51 percent of the admitted applicants were offered aid, though the University expects the percentage of students on aid will rise to about 54 percent.

Sixty-one percent of the admitted students come from public schools, while 30 percent are from private schools and 9 percent attend religiously-based schools. Five of the admitted applicants were educated at home.

Alumni volunteers had unprecedented personal contact with the applicant pool, interviewing 16,057 candidates, or 91 percent of the applicants. While no official numbers are kept, Rapelye said, "this must be a record within higher education, and it is the largest number of interviews Princeton has conducted."

The admitted candidates have until May 1 to accept Princeton's offer of admission.