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Although a College Board study released this week predicts that colleges will admit a higher percentage of applicants during the 1980s, Harvard remains "more selective than ever," William R. Fitzsimmons '67, director of admissions, said Monday.
Harvard accepted only 15.5 per cent of last year's 14,000 applicants, and Fitzsimmons said he expected the percentage to drop in the future.
The University received a record number of applications for five consecutive years, Fitzsimmons said, adding that the volume of applications has also increased at other Ivy League schools. Fitzsimmons attributed the rise in applications to a "tough, competitive job market," which makes a degree from a prestigious school "highly advantageous."
At less competitive schools, a projected decline in the number of 18-year-olds caused a scramble for applicants, Steve Ivan, a statistician for the College Board, said Monday.
Most institutions hope to offset this decline with stronger recruitment programs and more applications from women, minorities and part-time adult students, he added.
"Analysts have been forecasting doom since 1973, but enrollment has increased all across the board since then," Ivan said. But statistics also show that 132 colleges closed between 1970 and June 1979. "Ultimately it is quite difficult to assess whether optimism is realistic or foolhardy," Ivan added.
Fitzsimmons said many of the country's four-year colleges are "on the brink of closing." He cited the recent shutdowns at Windham College in New Hampshire and Annhurst College in Massachusetts as evidence.
In the College Board Study, only 14 per cent of the schools surveyed predict an enrollment drop of more than 5 per cent, while 54 per cent predicted a relatively stable enrollment.
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