The number of minority students and women applying to Harvard has increased this year with almost a third of all applicants identifying themselves as minorities, according to admissions officials.
Of the 13,850 students that applied this year, 4,571 students identified themselves as minorities. The number of overall applications increased from last year's total of 12,589.
Mexican American applicants jumped 21.4 percent over last year to 329, while Black applicants grew by 20.9 percent from last year's total to 834. The number of Asian-American applicants increased by 5.9 percent from last year to 2,819.
The number of minority applications this year has been more under scrutiny this year than in the past because of the low number of Black students who entered the Class of 1996. The admissions office conducted a special second recruitment for Black applicants in December.
Admissions office officials said they have launched an aggressive campaign to attract minority applicants in addition to a direct mail program that targets 25,000 potential applicants.
But some minority students feel that Harvard is not looking in the right places.
Cynthia D. Johnson '96 said that when recruiters visited her primarily white school they overlooked minority students.
"The Admissions Office should recruit qualified minorities from the inner-city schools and schools where there may only be two or three minorities," Johnson said.
Senior Admissions Officer David L. Evans said yesterday that recruiters visit inner-city high schools with many minority students as well as predominantly white schools to attract minorities.
"We do make special efforts to equally recruit minorities within the inner-city school systems as well as the predominantly white schools," Evans said.
The increase in minority applicants may not guarantee an increase in minority enrollment. Last year an approximately average number of Black students were accepted into the Class of 1996, but many chose to attend other universities which offered them larger financial aid packages.
"The minority students that we do accept often attend those schools with larger financial packages," Evans said.