Newly released admissions statistics offer a unique look into Binghamton University’s applicant pool for the class of 2014. The data reveals that the number of applications to BU fell for the first time in a decade, but the applicant pool was the most competitive yet.
The information was presented to the BU Council on Oct. 15 as part of a report prepared by Sandra Starke, the vice provost for enrollment management, and Jean-Pierre Mileur, the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The statistics indicate that the applicant pool for BU decreased by almost 6 percent, from last year’s high of 33,712 for fall 2009 admission to 31,737 applications for 2010.
Starke indicated that the ‘biggest reason [for the decrease in applications] is a population shift in demographics in the northeast.’ She noted that the demographic shift is resulting in a decreased number of high school graduates and that the decrease in the applicant pool is not Binghamton-specific.
In a slide from their presentation, Starke and Mileur cite, with information from the New York State Education Department, that the projections for the number of high school graduates in New York fell from 194,885 in 2009, to 191,822 in 2010.
The data also predicts a decrease in every year from 2009, with the final year of the projections, 2019, having a total of 163,274 high school graduates.
The decreased number of high school graduates, over the long term, will intensify the competition for students among colleges and universities in New York.
Starke pointed out that in 2008, 154,408 of the 195,454 high school graduates in New York State decided to go to college, and of that number, 126,615 stayed in New York. This leaves an average of 377 students per institution, since there are 336 institutions in New York.
As the number of high school graduates decreases, the average of overall students per institution will lower, thus leaving each institution with fewer applicants.
According to Starke, BU’s top competitors in New York are SUNY Stony Brook, Cornell University and New York University.
‘We do very well against Stony Brook, the top competitor,’ Starke said.
Starke also claimed that some students might have been intimidated by Binghamton’s increased admission’s selectivity.
‘As Binghamton gets more selective, there may be fewer students who are going to apply to Binghamton,’ she said.
Jinnatun Nesa, a junior majoring in anthropology, said that she knew people that did not apply to Binghamton University because of its admissions competitiveness.
‘A lot of people think Binghamton is out of their league,’ she said.
BU’s acceptance rate fell from 40 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2009, which according to Starke makes BU highly selective.
In fact, Starke noted that while there were fewer applicants to BU, their quality increased.
She cited that the average SAT scores have increased for the class of 2014 and that a large portion of applicants were student leaders, volunteers and had talents in theater, science, sports and music.
The freshman average SAT score for fall 2009 was 1286, while the average for fall 2010 rose to 1289, which is 272 points above the national average.
‘Given [that] there is a downturn in the demographics of college-bound seniors in the northeast, Binghamton, like other institutions, will be looking to recruit more broadly,’ Starke said.
She added that the downturn will not decrease the quality of Binghamton University.
The recent admissions data also reveals that the enrollment for transfer students, after decreasing from 844 in 2007 to 719 in 2009, dramatically increased to 1,000 in 2010.
Starke added that the increase was ‘in part because we planned to grow.’