Report indicates acceptance rate rising

By Lesley Rogers

Despite the lowest enrollment in 20 years, NIU’s acceptance rate of incoming freshmen appears to be climbing.

U.S. News and World Report’s seventh edition of “America’s Best Colleges” ranked NIU’s academic reputation as 170 out of 204 universities placing NIU in the fourth and lowest quartile.

The acceptance rate for incoming freshmen in the fall of 1992 was reported to be 67 percent, relatively lower than other schools in the fourth quartile.

Some administrators are saying the facts listed in the magazine are misleading, because NIU was limiting enrollment last fall.

“When you look at an acceptance rate, you look at the context and how it was derived. They (the magazine) could have made a simple statement that said some universities intentionally downsized the freshman class,” Daniel Oborne, director of Admissions said. “That’s a little frustrating. It doesn’t tell the whole story.”

In 1991, the acceptance rate was 69 percent, then in 1992 it dropped to 67 percent. In 1992-93, 11,863 freshman applied to NIU and 7,941 were accepted.

“You have to keep in mind we’re not changing admission criteria. The acceptance rate depends upon how many students apply,” Oborne said.

Nick Noe, director of Institutional Research, said not every university counts applications the same way, and NIU’s admission figures are based on total applications.

“We have restricted enrollment in the past because we have had the demand greater than the number of resources available to students. We had to adjust and not take everyone who met the requirements,” Noe said.

Oborne agreed and cited the limited admissions as the reason many students were not able to come to NIU. “In 1992, some students who met the admission criteria were told they could not come to NIU. It’s because we were intentionally downsized,” he said.

Enrollment was not restricted this fall with an acceptance rate of 74 percent, Noe said.

Noe said, “I expect that figure to stabilize over the next couple of years.”

The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana had a 72 percent acceptance rate in the fall of 1992. Illinois State University has an acceptance rate of 79 percent and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale had an acceptance rate of 63 percent in 1992.