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Caltech admission yield drops

[mk1]First of two parts.

By Robert E. Malchman

PASADENA, Calif. -- A California Institute of Technology (Caltech) faculty committee report blames increases in the school's tuition and self-help levels for a decreased yield of admitted applicants.


The report, issued by the Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions Policies and Procedures, also stated that the students Caltech wants most are in many cases not applying because of its reputation as a narrow and pressurized school.

Caltech's yield of admitted students deciding to attend in the 1970s averaged 55 percent. That number dropped to 48 percent in 1982 and stayed below 50 percent the next two years. Caltech has<>


approximately 200 students per class.

The 1985 yield rose over 50 percent, perhaps attributable to "the innovative financial aid packages" Caltech offered, the report states.

MIT yielded 61 percent in 1984 and 59 percent in 1985. Harvard College annually yields approximately 70 percent, the highest in the country, the report stated.

Caltech is losing the more di-<>

(Please turn to page 13)


[mk2](Continued from page1)

verse students to other schools, the report continues. In the 1970s, "Caltech got 60 percent of those who were accepted at both Caltech and MIT or Stanford, but [now] ... we are getting only 40 percent."

At Caltech, 39 percent of the Class of 1988 was rejected by MIT, up from 28 percent for the previous class, and from 9 percent for the Class of 1977.

The reasons for this percentage are unclear, the report states, concluding only Caltech employs a different, more narrowly academic, admissions standard.

Applicants' strengths in the humanities is "totally overlooked," according to committee Chairman Bruce Cain, a professor of political science. Some students with interests in the humanities were even discouraged by faculty<>


members and staff from coming to Caltech, he said.

Historically Caltech sought pure science majors, but in recent years "there have been a disproportionate number of engineers," Cain said. The professor said he would like to see Caltech recruit a "broader mix" of students.

Caltech is also not attracting as many of its traditional type of students, the report states. Not one of the top ten winners of the 1984 Westinghouse Science Talent Search went to Caltech. Three went to MIT.

Caltech has no overcrowding in any of its departments.

"Beating" by college guides

"Caltech tends to take a beating" in college guides that pur-<>


port to describe schools from the insiders' views, the report states.

The prevailing negative images focus on "the curriculum's intensity, ... the weakness of [Humanities and Social Science (HSS)] offerings, ... the absence of easy sex, ... and the unattractiveness of Pasadena ..." the report continues.

The guides usually also mention Caltech's strengths in faculty, research opportunities, good training and the honor system, the report states.

The committee made 27 recommendations among five areas in its 88-page report.

(Editor's note: A summary of the committee's recommendations will appear as part two.)