Preliminary application figures show that the number of women applying to Harvard for 1976 has increased 4 per cent over this time last year.
Those figures, released yesterday by William R. Fitzsimmons '67, director of admissions, show that with 4800 applications received, women now represent 35 per cent of the applicant pool, compared with about 31 per cent last year.
"We are very encouraged by the fact that there may be an increase in the number of women because it means that our recruiting efforts are paying off," Fitzsimmons said.
However, Fitzsimmons warned that figures may fluctuate, citing a sudden spurt in Radcliffe applicants that took place in late December, 1974.
"We are not congratulating ourselves yet," Fitzsimmons said, adding that less than half of the projected total number of applications have been received.
Last year women comprised 30 per cent of the final total applicant pool.
A letter sent to secondary schools that explained Harvard's move toward equal access admissions and the merger of the Harvard and Radcliffe admissions offices this year may have played a role in the increasing number of women applicants, Fitzsimmons said.
He added that the efforts of the admissions office staff, through informal recruiting mechanisms, such as letters to female National Merit semi-finalists, may have also contributed to the increase.
The stepped-up policies stem from the recommendations delivered last spring by the Committee to Study the Aspects of the Harvard-Radcliffe Relationship.
That committee's report recommended that the men-to-women student ratio be reduced from the present ratio of 2.5 to 1, and that the increased number of women be admitted with a policy of equal access.
To successfully reduce the men-to-women ratio, the report recommended that the pool of women be enlarged through "more vigorous recruiting efforts."
The report also recommended that the two admissions offices be combined under the title of The Harvard-Radcliffe Admissions and Financial Aid Office.
Fitzsimmons said "a gratifying amount of publicity" about the merged admissions offices may have helped boost the number of women applicants. "Lots of people were not necessarily aware of the exact relationship of Harvard and Radcliffe until this year," he added.
For the first time, Fitzsimmons said, virtually all female applicants will receive alumnae interviews.
In past years only about one-third of the female applicants were interviews by alumnae, he said.
The admissions office will begin reading the applications some time next week, he said.