STEFANIE D. NILES, VICE PRESIDENT FOR ENROLLMENT, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
The Enrollment, Marketing & Communications Division achieved much success after a great deal of hard work this year in our efforts to enroll the class of 2020. After enrolling the very large class of 2019 (731 students), we were cognizant of the need to keep the class of 2020 within our targeted range. Following are a few updates on some of the areas that were discussed in last year’s President’s Report.
Dickinson received 6,172 first-year applications for the class of 2020, our largest applicant pool in history. The class of 2020 target was 600-620 students and we enrolled 610. After the large class we enrolled in 2015, this was a welcome return to a much more manageable class size.
The academic quality of the class of 2020 is very strong. The average SAT score of those who submitted standardized test scores (we are SAT-optional, though approximately two-thirds of enrolled students submitted standardized test scores with their applications for admission) is a 1304, up nine points over last year’s average.
The class of 2020 is the most diverse class in Dickinson’s history, including 21 percent domestic students of color and 12 percent international students. In addition, 10 percent are first-generation college students (neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree). We continue to nurture our positive relationships with community-based organizations to further our outreach efforts to diverse populations of students. In addition, our Discover Diversity at Dickinson program is in its fifth year. This program brings underrepresented students to campus in November to experience Dickinson during an overnight stay and our traditional open house. Since adding this program we have seen our greatest increase in qualified underrepresented students in our Early Decision round, which has had a positive impact on our overall applicant pool.
We continue to enroll the most talented and diverse class that we can afford. More families are applying and qualifying for financial aid, and many see their out-ofpocket education cost as a primary factor in where their student will enroll. Sixty percent of students in the class of 2020 are receiving need-based financial aid, and the average need-based grant they qualified for is almost $4,000 more than the prior year. While the actual cost to educate a Dickinson student is more than $75,000 annually, the direct price of a Dickinson education is $63,974 with the college’s endowment and annual giving subsidizing the gap.
The Dickinson Admissions Volunteer Society (DAVS) continued to thrive this year, with 1,146 prospective students interviewed in 2015-16 by 727 DAVS members (627 alumni and 100 parents) in 34 states and 41 countries. Additionally, DAVS members represented Dickinson at 347 college fairs in 29 states and 10 countries.
We enhanced our geographic outreach efforts last fall by hiring a regional director of West Coast recruitment. This fall we have hired four additional recruitment staff members. An admissions office reorganization allowed us to redistribute resources so that we can make greater strides in developing new markets. We continue to saturate our primary markets through intensive recruitment efforts yet also are investing in new efforts to grow markets with potential, such as Georgia, Ohio, Colorado and Maryland.