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After Hiatus, College Accepts Transfers

By Elizabeth S. Widdicombe, Contributing Writer

No transfer students were admitted to the College spring term, but admissions office say the number of accepted transfer students will return to past levels in the coming year.

Last year, the number of transfer students admitted dropped to an unprecedented 35—all for the fall semester—slashing the number of transfers by 35 percent from the 2001-2002 academic year.

Director of Admissions Marlyn McGrath Lewis ’70-’73 said yesterday the total number of transfer students admitted for the 2003-2004 academic year could be as high as 55, with 20 allowed to matriculate in the spring.

The cap of 55 is a return to the 2001-2002 acceptance rate, halting a five-year downward trend in transfer students admissions.

McGrath Lewis told The Crimson this fall that the admissions office decided to accept fewer transfers for this year because housing officials said there would be a dearth of beds available for transfers.

McGrath Lewis said the number of “anticipated spaces available in the housing system” accounts for the fluctuating acceptance rates.

The College will have no trouble accommodating the increase in transfer students next year, with renovations in Pforzheimer House helping to add 89 beds this year and 19 more next year, according to Associate Dean of the College Thomas A. Dingman ’67.

Dingman said that this year’s low number of transfer students, and last year’s projected increases, do not reflect any changes in policy.

“We will be returning to the numbers we’re accustomed to,” he said. “They bring a lot of energy and talent, and it’s great to have that group.”

While the higher cap will provide for a bigger transfer pool next year, transfer student Constantin C. Crachilov ’04 said he doubts the increase will make being accepted as a transfer student feel any easier.

In 2001-2002, about 1,100 students applied to transfer to the College. Only three percent were accepted.

“It’s hard to get into Harvard as a transfer, whether you’re one of 30 or one of 60, when more than 1,000 people apply,” Crachilov said. “It didn’t feel like a difference last year, although I don’t think anybody else knew there wouldn’t be any acceptances for the spring.”

Julia G. Fox, coordinator of the transfer and visiting student program, said she is excited about the acceptance of spring transfer students again because of the work and travel experience they often bring with them from a semester between schools.

Crachilov said he looks forward to welcoming a larger number of transfer students next year.

“It’s nice to meet them,” he said. “You have this extra common ground.”

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