Derrick Davis is an all-state basketball star with offers to play ball at two Division I schools.They've been going after minority students like Mr. Davis. Recruitment is certainly a reason why Chicago has an uptick in undergrad applications. This is certainly a good selling point for many students:
Yet, the Bridgeport, Mich., high school senior will be starting his freshman year in the fall at the University of Chicago, known more for students with high ACT scores then high scores on the basketball court.
"It was a really hard decision," Davis said. "I wanted to play Division I basketball. But I felt like the University of Chicago was the right place for me."
He's not alone. High school seniors this year applied in record numbers to the Hyde Park school, which saw a 42 percent increase in the number of applications over last year. The school also reported a record number of accepted students -- 39 percent of those admitted are planning to attend.
Minority students also applied in higher numbers, a trend playing out among elite colleges around the country. May 1 was the deadline for seniors to commit to attending top-ranked universities, many of which reported record-low acceptance rates because of the high number of applications.
"What we are seeing is the current and future demographic of this country," said Eric J. Furda, dean of admissions at the Ivy League's University of Pennsylvania, which saw 17 percent more applications this year than last year. "What's the real makeup of college-bound students? The growth is among blacks and Hispanics primarily."
The university's strong financial aid packages also are a big draw.Here are some stats:
"They have great resources for financing," said Kurt Schmidt, director of college admissions at St. Ignatius College Prep, a high school where typically 30 to 35 seniors apply to the U. of C. each year.
"They have the resources to make a financial aid package feasible, and they are looking for the brightest minds," he said.
Davis said he first heard of the U. of C. when his basketball coach gave him a packet of information from the school. He realized the university was the right fit when he sat in on a literature class during a visit to Hyde Park, he said.
"I liked the discussion they were having," he said. "I felt like I could be successful."
A bachelor's degree from a well-known school will be more bankable then the odds he will play in the NBA, Davis said. And though the school does not give athletic scholarships, he will receive financial aid.
While applications are up across the board, elite schools, in particular, are pulling increasingly large numbers of applicants year-to-year.Believe it or not, it's approaching a year since I graduated from Morehouse. The year I FINALLY graduated, the entering class was said to be the largest in years. I wonder how many applications Morehouse got for the upcoming year. And I wonder if they have generous financial aid, exclusive hopefully of forcing students to take on serious student loan debt.
Northwestern University applications are up 9 percent over last. The school has had a 70 percent increase in applications over the last five years, including increasing numbers of applications from minority students.
More than 30,000 seniors applied to Harvard, a school record. About 7 percent were accepted. For the sixth consecutive year, Princeton's applications were up, this year by more than 19 percent.
Among its peer schools, though, the U. of C.'s 42 percent increase was unmatched.
And the main thing of note in this article a black who would otherwise make an attempt to play in the NBA as opposed to taking seriously his education chose an elite institution like UChicago for undergrad. And at that he doesn't get an athletic scholarship. This young man has gotten the right idea!