Puget Sound sees a spike in acceptance rates

By Paul Goudarzi-Fry

Puget Sound’s general acceptance rate has increased to about 85 percent for fall 2013, with early acceptance rate at 88 percent. That rate is about 30.7 percent higher than 2010.

According to the university’s website, Puget Sound accepts about 675 new members of the freshman class each year from several thousand applications. What this new rate does, however, will not affect the current amount of students coming into the new class.

“The increase in our acceptance rate is due to a change in the way we count applications,” said Jenny Rickard, Vice President for Enrollment at Puget Sound. “Last year, the Common Application made some revisions to its nomenclature identifying prospective students in their system. What were once called ‘in progress’ applications are now called ‘prospects’.”

According to Rickard, the application rate for the fall of 2012 was closer to 83 percent, marking only a slight change to this year’s number.

A rising use of electronic applications such as the Common Application makes documenting student applications the easiest it has been for decades. In addition, the ACT and the College Board occasionally sends schools names of students who are eligible for VIP admissions – pre-completed forms for students who show positive qualities for possible application. Puget Sound does not currently participate in the VIP admission process.

“These applications help increase a school’s applicant pool as well as strategically raise the average SAT scores of their applicants,” said International College Counselors regarding special admissions. ICC is an association of admissions experts geared towards helping high school students through the college admission process.

However, these new and faster processes can skew perceptions of how many applications are being taken into account by each university.

“Comparing application numbers and therefore acceptance rates across across institutions is an apples and oranges situation,” Rickard said.

It is important to note that there has been no change regarding the amount of selectivity when considering a student’s admission into Puget Sound.

“Through our competitive admission process, we take great care to match an applicant’s … accomplishments with our goal of enrolling an academically talented and diverse student body,” reads the Freshman Frequently Asked Questions on the university’s website.

U.S. News and the Common Application list Puget Sound’s application process as “selective” and “competitive,” respectively.

“Most of the students who are applying to distinctive liberal arts colleges like Puget Sound are, in fact, qualified for admission,” Rickard said. “They have done their research, understand the rigor of our academic program, and have ‘self-selected’ to apply. That means we have strong applicants to begin with.”

Application standards for academics indicate that Puget Sound students score above the national average in both SAT and ACT scores. By seeking out higher numbers of qualified potential students, Puget Sound continues to sharpen its image of scholastic prowess.

The process of applying to college, however, is more than just test scores and numerical values.

“[Applying for school] is a real different process from what I expected it to be. I felt it was less about what grades you had in high school as opposed to more of your general interests, your interest and passion in things,” said freshman honors student Adam Herbertson.“I personally like to have a more diverse, not homogenous, class group. That’s why I chose a liberal arts school like this as opposed to a state school.”

“Given national trends – the declining population of 18 year olds and the fact that students are applying to greater numbers of schools – it bodes well for Puget Sound that we enrolled this year another very strong class of first year students who are already contributing to campus in some pretty astonishing ways, both in and out of the classroom,” University President Ronald Thomas said.

According to Thomas, there is a constant increase in student success regarding awards, scholarships, admission to continued education and successful careers upon graduation.

“We expect that to continue,” Thomas said.

Puget Sound prides itself on accepting students who contribute significantly to society, both within campus culture and outside of the university’s walls. With a larger pool of applications from which students are chosen, the admissions personnel ensure that each new freshman class is continuously academically sound each year.