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Lafayette has recruited the highest-quality academic class in its history while being more selective than ever in admissions.

The College welcomed the 581 members of the class of 2006 for First-Year Orientation Aug. 22. New and returning students began classes today.

Academically the new incoming class is Lafayette’s strongest ever. The mean SAT score is 1267, and the proportion of students ranking in the top 10 percent of their high-school class is 58 percent, an all-time high.

Lafayette received 5,504 applications, the most ever, an increase of 5.9 percent over last year. Applications have increased by 24 percent in the last three years.

Lafayette was more selective than ever before, with an all-time low admission rate of 36 percent. The proportion of admitted students enrolling, or yield, is also a record, 29 percent.

This year’s student quality and admissions selectivity continue a pronounced upward trend. In the last six years the average SAT score of incoming classes has improved by 51 points, and the ratio of students in the top 10 percent in high-school class rank has grown by 57 percent. At the same time Lafayette has improved its acceptance rate by 43 percent and improved the yield by 44 percent.

Academic scholarships are helping Lafayette become the college of choice for top applicants.

Under the Lafayette Scholars program, 100 of the most outstanding members of the Class of 2006 will receive more than $1 million in financial-aid awards based on academic merit. These include 59 students named Marquis Scholars and 41 students selected to receive Trustee Scholarships.

“Many outstanding students seek out schools that are going to recognize their academic excellence.” says Carol A. Rowlands, director of admissions. “The fact that we recognize students’ academic achievements in high school through our Marquis and Trustee scholarships makes people take notice.”

Marquis Scholars were among the most distinguished graduates in the Class of 2002. Of the 53 Marquis Scholars receiving degrees at Lafayette’s 167th commencement in May, 41 earned Latin honors with grade point averages of 3.50 or above, including 22 graduating summa cum laude (3.80 or higher). Eighteen earned departmental honors for outstanding performance in writing a senior thesis or conducting senior research. Twenty-one were members of Phi Beta Kappa, and 10 were in Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society.

Admissions Statistics, Classes of 2000 through 2006

—————-Applications–Accept Rate—Yield—–In Top 10%—SAT*

Class of 2006——-5,504——-36%——-29.2%——-58%——-1267
Class of 2005——-5,195——-39%——-28.6%——-57%——-1242
Class of 2004——-5,038——-40%——-27.6%——-55%——-1240
Class of 2003——-4,429——-48%——-27.3%——-51%——-1248
Class of 2002——-4,478——-54%——-24.7%——-41%——-1223
Class of 2001——-4,177——-58%——-23.5%——-38%——-1209
Class of 2000——-4,546——-63%——-20.3%——-37%——-1216

*Mean combined SAT I score

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