Tomomi Chen ’20
Smith College has been attracting more and more applicants each year. With this being the 10th year in a row of Smith receiving a record number of applications, it seems that women’s colleges are becoming a trend once again. Not only that, but liberal arts colleges may also be increasing in popularity.
This year, there were 5,432 applicants for the Class of 2021, a three percent increase from last year and a 21 percent increase from three years ago.
Within this number, all 50 states and almost 3000 high schools were represented. 200 of these applicants were legacies, while 2,067 applicants were domestic students of color. Furthermore, 544 applied early decision, indicating that Smith is their first choice.
There are most likely many reasons for this increase. Karen Kristof, senior associate director of admissions, commented that, “[one reason for the increase may be because] Smith … has much good news to share – the new Neilson Library, our successful fundraising efforts and the accomplishments of our alumnae.”
Up to date, 36,853 people have donated to the Women for the World campaign while 166,854 gifts and pledges have been given to the campaign in the past seven years. The campaign was started as a way to raise money to increase access to Smith by increasing financial aid. This campaign was able to raise over $450 million, which may have contributed to more students applying.
As to why women’s colleges are becoming popular, Kristof commented, “I’m not sure why women’s colleges have become more popular. Maybe … word is getting out that these are wonderfully vibrant and diverse communities where you can get an exceptional education.”
Women’s colleges have been praised for allowing women to form into more confident versions of themselves. Many female leaders come from women’s colleges, recent examples including Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem ‘56.
Not only is this increase a trend among domestic students, but there was also an increase in applications from international students. There were 1,408 international applicants this year, a five percent increase from last year.
Kristof indicated that this increase is most likely due to “Admission officers, alumnae, and current students … talking about Smith all over the world. …[Another] way to explain the increase is that we also [had] an increase in the countries represented. Last year, international students applied from 97 countries. This year, it’s 108 countries.” Smith currently represents students from places such as Ghana, Kuwait, Lebanon, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. As of Oct. 15, 2016, there are 362 international students at Smith.
Furthermore, Kristof continued, “there … can be a ‘domino effect’ at play. More international applications, more international students and more international alumnae. Back in 2010, we were asked to increase the percentage of international students at Smith. We were aiming for 12 percent and, in fact, have exceeded that. The class of 2020, for example, was 14 percent international students.”
As for how the admissions office feels about the increase in applications?
Kristoff said, “We are thrilled about the increase in applications but more importantly, we are grateful to the entire Smith community for their support. This is a record we ALL can be proud of!”