The number of high school students applying for early admission to the College jumped by 13 percent this year to a record high, exceeding Yale's total by more than 50 percent, admissions officials said yesterday.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons '67 attributed the record high of 2,653 early action candidates to academic strength, financial aid and improved athletic programs, all of which contribute to the "quality of the Harvard experience."
"Harvard has kept up very well--quality faculty, quality academic programs, and a quality plant," Fitzsimmons said.
"We have broadened opportunities for women in athletics, while others have cut back," he said. "We are one of the very last universities with a need-blind admissions policy."
Fitzsimmons said Harvard's financial aid policy is not only a factor for students who need aid, but is important to others as well since it improves the diversity of the student body.
Direct mailings and recruiting programs in which admissions officers and undergraduates address prospective applicants in high schools contributed to the increase, he said.
But the increase in early action applicants does not guarantee that there will be more early admits, Fitzsimmons said. "I guess that they will be up generally," he said. "We never set any targets."
Early applicants are only admitted "if we're 100 percent sure we'd admit [them] in April," Fitzsimmons said.
He did say that he was "impressed" with this year's candidates. "We've read all of the applications, and the quality is very good," he said.
Fitzsimmons said he couldn't predict for sure whether the number of regular applicants will be up this year, but said that the admissions office is "running ahead" in regular applications received so far.
Meanwhile, the Yale Daily News recently reported that early applications were up at Yale as well. A record 1,687 high school seniors, 20 percent more than last year, applied early to Yale this year.
Breaking down the Harvard num- Geographically, there were increases inapplicants from the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic,the Midwest and foreign countries, he said
Geographically, there were increases inapplicants from the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic,the Midwest and foreign countries, he said