College Recruits Most Selective Class in History

The Class of 1999 at Columbia College has made history even before its members begin classes next fall. It will be "the most selective" in the history of the college, said Drusilla Blackman, dean of undergraduate admissions at the College and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, in an interview last week.

"We had the largest number of applications in College history, and we were able to be the most selective ever, with an acceptance rate of 22.7 percent. We admitted 1,974 applicants, and we are projecting a class size of 875 students for a yield of 44 percent," she said.

While the number of applicants to the School of Engineering and Applied Science declined 2.6 percent, with a total of 1,350 applications, Blackman said SEAS "had a very strong yield of 42 percent," the number of confirmed acceptances. The projected class size for SEAS's Class of 1999 is 285.

"The quality of the applicant pool for both the College and SEAS has improved considerably," she said. "The measurable criteria--SAT scores and class standing--were much stronger. The depth in the applicant pool allowed us to admit a stronger class without losing the diversity and uniqueness that make Columbia a truly great educational institution."

The number of early-decision applications also increased, with 530 received for the College, and 59 for SEAS, said Blackman. The number admitted--239 in the College, 34 in SEAS--resulted in a 100 percent acceptance yield. Early-decision applications are reviewed in November instead of January with the understanding that candidates, if accepted by Columbia, will not apply elsewhere.

"The interest in Columbia seems to be far stronger than in past years," she said. "Through our combined efforts in development, alumni and admissions, Columbia is assuming a higher profile in the nation and the world. In addition, New York City is perceived as being alive and vibrant and an enhancement to an educational experience, causing more students to be interested in Columbia."

Compared with its Ivy League counterparts, Columbia's attractiveness is rising steadily. "That increase in applications--29 percent over the last two years--is the largest in the Ivies," said Blackman.

Of those admitted to the College, 51 percent are female, 49 percent male. In SEAS, 28 percent are female, 72 percent male.

Columbia University Record -- May 17, 1995 -- Vol. 20, No. 29