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Class of '92 Admits Most Women Ever

By Jennifer Griffin

A record percentage of women and minorities were admitted to the Harvard-Radcliffe Class of 1992, the Admissions Office announced yesterday.

At 12:01 a.m. tonight 2147 letters of acceptance will be mailed to anxious high school seniors across the country, Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons '67 said yesterday. Those admitted were selected from a record 14,430 applications making the class of 1992 the most competitive class in which to gain admission.

"This was a more ardous selection process" than ever before, he said. "It is an extremely bright class."

According to the figures released yesterday, those accepted to the class of '92 set records across the board in terms of percentage of minorities and women admitted.

The proportion of women accecpted this year rose more than two percentage points, according to College figures. Due to a record number of women applying, this year's acceptances are 43 percent women. Typically the percentage of men and women admitted is similar to the male-female ratio of the applications, Fitzsimmons said.

Last year 40.6 percent of those accepted were women. The year before, those admitted to the Class of '90 were 40.7 women.

"We hope as the numbers of women graduating go up, the increased role models will also encourage women to apply," said Fitzsimmons. "Our ultimate goal, besides getting the best students, is to attain a 50-50 ratio."

The Harvard undergraduate population as of January 1988 was 40.9 percent women.

Fitzsimmons credits the increase in the number of women applying to better alumni recruiting. When Harvard and Radcliffe combined offices in 1975 to admit the class of 1980, "we knew that we had to get the word out to the families of female high school students" in order to encourage women to apply, he said.

In addition, this year's acceptances include more Asian-American, Black and Hispanic students than ever before, a fact that Fitzsimmons again attributed to record numbers of applications in each category.

Asian-Americans make up 13.3 percent of those admitted to the Class of '92, Blacks comprise 10 percent, Hispanics are 7.5 percent acceptances.

Fitzsimmons said that the increased admission of women and minorities was based on the high quality of the applications and Harvard's need-blind admissions policy.

"Our financial aid policy is critical in the broadening and strengthening of our applicant pool," Fitzsimmons said in a statement accompanying the figures. "We are one of the very lastinstitutions in the country to be able to admitthe best students regardless of financial need.Our policy is well established and widely known,"the statement continues.

But the dean said a strong recruiting effortmakes Harvard attractive to those minoritiesaccepted.

"Last year," said Fitzsimmons, "our yield onBlack students jumped 10 percent, from 55 to 65percent, much to the credit of our minorityrecruiting staff."

Approximately two-thirds of the entering classwill receive some form of financial aid, accordingto information the office released yesterday.About 40 percent will receive scholarships fromthe nearly $6 million in grants offered toadmitted students.

The average financial aid package will total$12,450, of which $8550 will be in scholarship aidand $3900 a combination of student loans and job,the office said yesterday.

The increase in applications caught the officeby surprise, the dean said, since all statisticsindicate that the trend is toward fewer and fewercollege age students in the general population.

"The curve halted this year," Fitzsimmons saidyesterday. "Next year there will be a sharpdecline in applicants. It should bottom off about1993-4."

This year the admissions office hopes that theycan accept students off the waiting list. "Lastyear we couldn't go to the waiting list," saidFitzsimmons."

To counter not being able to accept anyone offthe waiting list last year, Harvard accepted 41fewer students than it did last year. "Ideally, wewould like to take anywhere between 40 and 70people off of the wait list, since there are somany qualified applicants," said Fitzsimmons

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