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Columbia Spectator Staff

The number of students applying early to Barnard went up significantly this year, according to the admissions office. For the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, 551 students applied early decision to Barnard—a nearly 40 percent increase from last year, in which 392 students applied early decision. Jennifer Fondiller, Barnard's dean of admissions, credited increased outreach as contributing to the jump in applications. That included more interaction between admissions counselors and lower-income students, more connection of prospective students with alumnae, and more investment in Barnard Bound, a fly-in program for lower-income students. This year, increased interest might also be attributed to the addition of the Diana Center to Barnard's campus, which Fondiller said benefited the college's image and expanded the scope of its on-campus programs. "I hear many applicants who say it all clicked for them once they set foot on the campus, and that the Diana Center is amazing in its design and offerings," Fondiller said. Eliana Levenson, BC '14, who applied early decision to Barnard last year, said that the increase could be tied to finances, with students trying to limit the number of expensive applications they file. "Also, there is a conception that it's easier to get into a school ED [early decision], and that you are more likely to receive scholarships because it shows an eagerness to attend the school, and the school is guaranteed that student's attendance," she said. For Mary Cosgrove, BC '14, who also applied to Barnard early decision, the increase was not surprising. "More people are becoming aware of Barnard as being a good school," she said. Logan Hofstein, BC '11 and a Barnard student admissions representative, said that she noticed an increase in the number of students opting to do interviews with BSARs. "All of our interview slots are full and there is a waitlist to be interviewed, and I don't remember that happening last year," she said. "We only take interviews Dec. 17, and a lot of people who start early on are early decision, so it is astonishing that all of our interview slots are full." Whatever the reasons, Fondiller said she expects the influx of applications won't be limited to the early decision applicant pool. "At this point, it looks like we'll also have more regular decision applicants than last year," she said. Fondiller added that she thought the early decision applicants were even more distinguished than those of years past. "This year's applicants include students who are published authors, nationally ranked synchronized ice skaters, accomplished dancers, national science prize winners, and architects behind innovative public service projects," she said. She added that Barnard's jump in applications could be credited to a variety of people, "from our student tour guides who have such personal stories to share about their experiences, to our alumnae who speak articulately about the value of a Barnard education." The results of the early decision application process will be announced on Dec. 15.