U applications up 30 percent in 2005

Emily Kaiser

Eden Prairie High School senior Parker Duncomb already received his acceptance letter to the University one month after applying.

But he is one of the lucky ones.

Many applicants will wait as many as 10 weeks to receive an acceptance letter, and many more students will realize the competitiveness of the University firsthand.

First-year applications to the University are up 30 percent from this time last year, an increase of approximately 4,000 applications, said Admissions Director Wayne Sigler.

If the projected 23,500 applications for the 2006-2007 first-year class of 5,300 holds up, this year would mark the fourth straight record year for first-year student applications, Sigler said.

“We are extremely grateful for the very strong interest in the University and don’t take applicants’ interest for granted,” he said.

Applicants were told to expect a decision within six weeks, but because of the increase in applications, Sigler said, they should expect a 10-week wait before receiving a decision.

“We are working overtime, including weekends, to send out decisions as quickly as possible while at the same time ensuring that applicants are given the careful consideration they deserve,” he said.

All student applications are reviewed individually, and admission decisions are based on an overall assessment of each application, Sigler said.

Applicants who submit a completed application by the Dec. 15 priority deadline should receive a decision by March 1, he said.

At Southwest High School in Minneapolis, guidance counselor Jean Sherwood said her office processed more University applications than in past years.

Sherwood said the increase earlier in the application season might be a result of students wanting to hear back quickly from the University if it was their first choice or their “safety school.”

Many students who are ranked in the middle of their classes are beginning to choose other schools as a safety, she said.

“I think students are realizing that (getting into the University) is not a sure thing like it used to be,” she said.

First-year student Stephanie Duffy said she had a long wait for her acceptance letter last year.

Duffy said she didn’t know whether she was accepted until April or March of this year.

She said all her high school friends who applied to the University haven’t yet heard back about their applications.

The increase in applications will make the University better, Duffy said, and will result in a better education.

“My education will get better compared to a smaller school because it’s harder to get in (to the University),” she said.

Duncomb also said tougher admissions standards will make next year’s students better.

“More kids want to go, so there will be a better group of students at the University,” he said.