Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

Weighing Expansion as More Top Students Clamor at Ivy Gates


In the mid-1960s, when William R. Fitzsimmons was a student at Harvard, the college took in a freshman class of roughly 1,550, including students at Radcliffe, which it would eventually absorb. In the four decades since, the population of the United States has ballooned by two-thirds, applications to Harvard have tripled and Mr. Fitzsimmons has ascended to the job of dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, but this year’s freshman class is only about 125 students larger than when he was a student.

That reluctance to grow has been true of many selective colleges that want to sustain their genteel scale. But with ever more students pressing at their gates, admissions officers find themselves having to reject what Anthony W. Marx, Amherst’s president, calls “astonishing applicants.”

The most elite institutions are accepting historic lows of 10 percent of applicants, and next year the sieve should become excruciatingly finer with applications from baby boomers’ offspring expected to crest.

At least four of the nation’s most exclusive institutions — Princeton, Yale, Stanford and Amherst — are either modestly expanding enrollments for the first time since the late 1960s (when some began admitting women) or have task forces studying the matter.


2007/12/26 - Posted by | China, US

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