Pembroke's Revenge

By Zachary Block '99 / September / October 2002
June 29th, 2007
Call it Pembroke's revenge. Although admission statistics for the class of 2006 reveal few surprises, the numbers do show that the percentage of women in incoming classes continues to climb. Women now make up about 56 percent of the freshman class, a number that reflects a 1 percent increase in each of the past three years.

This growth mirrors the national trend of burgeoning female enrollment in colleges and universities, although the picture at Ivy League schools is less consistent. Harvard's class of 2006, for example, is 52 percent male and only 48 percent female, while Cornell's is 51 percent female and 49 percent male.

With female applicants to Brown outpacing male applicants by a three-to-two ratio, men tallied an 18 percent admission rate, while only 16 percent of women who applied to Brown were accepted. The disparity was even greater for those taking the early-decision route, with men 6 percent more likely than women to gain admission to Brown when applying early.

The trend has Director of Admission Michael Goldberger stumped. "We don't know why" the disparity exists, he says. Goldberger, however, dismisses the notion that Brown engages in some form of affirmative action for men. "We try to treat [male and female applicants] the same," he says.

One noticeable change for the class of 2006, however, resulted from Brown's switch to early decision, which requires early applicants to commit to Brown if accepted. Not surprisingly, the change dramatically increased the University's "yield," the percentage of accepted applicants who actually enroll. The overall yield this year was an all-time high of 60 percent, an increase of 9 percent over last year.

More interesting, perhaps, is that the yield among applicants from minority groups "skyrocketed," according to Goldberger, from 36 percent to 47 percent for African Americans and from 41 to 53 percent for Asian Americans. "Most of it is the change to early decision, but an awful lot also has to do with President Simmons's and the Corporation's plans for academic enrichment and need-blind admissions," Goldberger explains. "I think people are very excited about Brown."

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September / October 2002