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Stanford to study increasing freshman enrollment

President John Hennessy says it's too hard to turn so many qualified students away

Stanford University has formed a group of faculty, alumni trustees and a student to study possibly increasing the number of freshman it admits.

The group will begin meeting in January and is due to report back to President John Hennessy by next fall, according to Jeff Wachtel, special assistant to Hennessy.

"There is no predetermined outcome for this group," Wachtel said.

Hennessy broached the issue in September in his president's column in Stanford, the alumni magazine, saying he was concerned by the number of qualified students the university turns away each year.

Those include high school valedictorians and students with perfect SAT scores. The university had nearly 24,000 applicants this year for a freshman class of about 1,680 students.

Hennessy wrote in September that he was interested in considering a "slight" increase.

"It is still one of the most difficult parts of the job to explain to parents with gifted children why a son or daughter was not admitted," Hennessy wrote.

Increasing the number of undergraduates would affect housing, financial aid and the ratio of faculty to students.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Distance-Education-Has-Arrived
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2007 at 10:58 am

> Increasing the number of undergraduates would affect
> housing, financial aid and the ratio of faculty to students.

Time for Stanford to think about on-line classes to provide access to people that it can not immediately accommodate via on-campus admission.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2007 at 11:07 am

There is excellent research showing that in-person instruction trumps online learning for many individuals. Much is gained from the social experience of campus living.


Like this comment
Posted by Distance-Education-Has-Arrived
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2007 at 8:02 pm

> There is excellent research showing that in-person
> instruction trumps online learning

The cost of on-campus instruction at a place like Stanford is pushing $50K a year. In addition, the infrastructure costs to house and educate students adds thousands to this number.

On-line education is growing at leaps and bounds because it is far less expensive, and can allow people to gain access to a campus from anywhere in the world. Not to mention, allowing more students access to the "corpus" of the University than otherwise would be possible in the traditional scheme.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2007 at 11:41 am

Increasing the freshman class creases problems with distribution requirement courses, especially the freshman writing course. A fixed number of courses are scheduled, with capped enrollment, to make sure classes are full. This means that, for example, if a Chemistry professor teaching a large, required general chemistry sequence changes the day/time of his course on the first day of classes – students need to make a schedule adjustment. It is a good idea for a student to try to change his writing class, because many classes are offered each quarter. However, because classes offered match the number of entering freshmen and transfers, in many cases a student needs to move out of a writing course before a student can add a writing course.

This is not a plea to increase the size of writing courses. I have taught writing (not at Stanford) and I understand that one additional student adds a great deal of out of class work time for the instructor. I am assuming Stanford wants freshman student writing improved.

This is a plea to increase the number of courses offered to freshman. If most of the classes have two or more openings at the start of each quarter, freshman can more easily make a schedule adjustment. Some of these writing courses are offered for two quarters, some for one quarter. A student with a high score on the writing test is eligible to take the one quarter course.


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