Students admitted to the Class of 2019 are the academically strongest, most diverse in Bates history


Prospective students and families take a summer campus tour. From a record number of applications to the Class of 2019, Bates extended offers of admission  to the strongest, most diverse cohort in the college’s history. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Bates College extended offers of admission to 1,208 students for the Class of 2019 from a record number of applicants, making it the strongest, most diverse admitted class in the college’s history.

Among those offered admission, there are upward trends nearly across the board: More students of color, more first-generation college-goers, more in the top 10 percent of their high school class and (for those who submitted them) an average SAT score 21 points higher than last year.

And, they’re from everywhere: all 50 states and 43 countries are represented in this year’s group of admitted students.

The Class of 2019 had an overall admit rate of 21.4 percent, the lowest in the college’s history. The college received a record 5,636 applications, a 12-percent increase over last year.

Professor of Physics (and guitarist) John Smedley works with two Class of 2019 admitted students in the "Musical Waves and Spectra" master class, offered during the on-campus Admitted Students Reception on April 10, 2015. (Phyllis Graber Jensen)

During an on-campus Admitted Student Reception on April 10, 2015, Professor of Physics (and guitarist) John Smedley works with two prospective Class of 2019 students in the “Musical Waves and Spectra” master class. (Phyllis Graber Jensen)

For Regular Decision, the college offered admission to 17.8 percent of applicants, also a record low.

Of the 932 students offered admission during Regular Decision:

  • 37 percent are students of color (domestic and international)
  • 13 percent are the first in their families to go to college
  • 81 percent will graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, for those students reporting an official class rank
  • 2135 average SAT score (715 Critical Reasoning, 711 Mathematics and 709 Writing) and 32 average ACT composite (although submitting scores is optional for applicants)

Bates has accomplished this without changing its application process. “Our results speak to the college’s increased standing among high-achieving students,” said Leigh Weisenburger, the college’s dean of admission and financial aid.

Over the last several years, Bates has significantly expanded and improved its outreach through strategic and concerted efforts to enhance the college’s national and global presence. This year Bates admissions staff flew nearly 250,000 miles en route to visiting 1,166 high schools and community-based organizations that work with college-bound youth.

President Clayton Spencer welcomes admitted students and families to the Class of 2019 Admitted Student Reception on April 10. (Phyllis Graber Jensen)

President Clayton Spencer welcomes prospective Class of 2019 students and families to the on-campus Admitted Student Reception on April 10, 2015. (Phyllis Graber Jensen)

More than 180 high school students participated in one of the college’s three “fly in” programs which covers the cost of travel for qualifying applicants so that they can visit campus and stay overnight with a student host.

The college has also stepped up its recruitment of international students, with staff spending a combined 13 weeks abroad in Asia, Canada, Europe, and Latin America. These efforts yielded more than 1,000 international applicants.

“Bates has long been recognized as one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges, and we are seeing growing interest from students in regions where we have increased our recruitment such as California, Florida, and Texas,” Weisenburger said.

The college also dedicated more resources to financial aid so that qualified students will be able to enroll. Bates budgeted $8.6 million for aid for the Class of 2019, nearly 8 percent more than last year.

“This commitment to making Bates affordable directly links to the college’s mission and allows the institution to meet 100 percent of students’ demonstrated financial need,” Weisenburger said

Throughout the month of April, the college will host on- and off-campus receptions for admitted students and families so they can meet faculty, current students and alumni and learn more about the Bates experience. Admitted students have until May 1 to accept their offer of admission.