Colby’s regular decision acceptance rate hits 13% for Class of 2022

Claire Borecki

Since at arriving at Colby in 2014, Colby President David A. Greene has consistently advocated for a higher performing, better funded and more diversified Colby. As admissions-decision season returns, it can only be expected that the College’s incoming class would be even more competitive than the last.

“Wow…is it the most talented, diverse class Colby has ever seen?” Aidan Tokarski ’21 said sarcastically when informed of application decisions, poking fun at oft-repeated rhetoric from College administration.

Although the statement may get old, it does seem to be the truth, though Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Matt Proto makes an important qualification: “I would tell you they will be the most talented class Colby has ever seen,” he says, “but until we see who enrolls, we can’t say.”

On March 16, Colby released 12,314 regular admissions decisions for the Class of 2022. 13% of these students- or 1,602 of them- received acceptance letters. This is the lowest acceptance rate in Colby’s history, a continuation in the rapid decrease of this number in recent years.

Accepted students come from 923 high schools in 47 states and 67 countries. 90% of students who submitted a class rank were in the top 10% of their class, and SAT and ACT scores increased significantly, with a median ACT of 33 and median SAT scores of 730 for reading and 760 for math.

“They are extremely academically talented,” said Proto, “and they come from extremely diverse walks of life. They’ve made a positive impact in their communities, and Colby will give them the opportunity to do more.”

The academic statistics of the Class of 2022 add to Colby’s narrative of increased selectivity . Along with improved test scores and class rank, representation from high schools across the country has grow. For the Class of 2022, the percentage of first-generation students will remain about the same (roughly 10%), although Colby has increased its diversity significantly over the past decade.

Colby’s numbers are beginning to compete with NESCACs who have traditionally received greater name recognition, funds and selectivity. Colby’s Class of 2022 is about as selective as Bowdoin’s Class of 2021, for example, and rivals Amherst’s Class of 2020 data. Even diversity of high-school representation is beginning to match colleges with a more established pull in guidance departments. It’s likely that other NESCACS have also increased their selectivity in admissions decisions for the coming year, though this data has not yet been published.

However, we have yet to see which students and how many commit to actually joining Colby’s class of 2022. Once they arrive, Colby must consider a more important part of their narrative. How will these students experience Colby in new and better ways? Will the football team get better? “I hope so,” responds Proto.

On a more fundamental level, there are many resources the Class of the 2022 will have access to as first-years that current students did not. Significantly, the Class of 2022 will be the first to benefit from new financial aid commitments that provide families making under $60,000 a year with free tuition. This policy makes Colby immediately financially accessible to half the population of the United States.

However, it’s likely that this new policy did not significantly affect the demographics of the Class of 2022. The policy was only rolled out in December, and is unlikely to have influenced the students’ decisions to apply this year. Proto expects that the policy may have more significant implications for the Class of 2023.

Similarly, the Class of 2022 will be the first class to have applied with the knowledge of Davis Connects and its opportunities, which was first announced during admitted students weekend for the Class of 2021.

“These students- as well as [your class] won’t know a Colby before President Greene,” added Proto, with rhetoric familiar to those with knowledge of Dare Northward: “We want to compete at the highest level, in athletics and all aspects [of the College.]”

These students will also never know a time with off-campus housing independent of the College, or without the downtown dorm. The Class of 2022 may be the first incoming class to experience the Colby-Waterville partnership in action; it will be telling to see what they think of it.

Predictions from admissions estimate a class of 525 to 545 students, though it could still turn out to be smaller or larger than the Class of 2021 (552 students.) Admissions consistently watches how many students enroll each day, and it’s too early to know if students will be taken from the waitlist.

Colby students will have an opportunity to influence the incoming class with admitted students weekend. This year, Colby students will host 300 to 400 prospective students, who will be invited to attend 80 optional events over three days. During that time they will get to experience Colby, and Colby students will be able to judge for themselves if the incoming students truly represent “the most talented, diverse class Colby has ever seen.”