High school seniors have been religiously checking their mailboxes, eagerly awaiting their acceptance letters to college for the 2005-2006 school year.
Now that the filing period has closed at UM, statistics reveal that there is a slight disparity between the number of applications from males and from females. The Office of Admissions disclosed that there were 9,700 female and 8,600 male applicants, making the applicants’ male-to-female ratio 47 percent to 53 percent.
While the difference in the application pool is fairly small, females are expected to be admitted at a somewhat higher rate than males. According to Matthew Ward, senior associate director of the Office of Admissions, the reason is that their applications are more qualified.
“There is a national trend that females perform better than males,” Ward said. “Colleges all over the country are noticing that more females are doing what it takes to get into college-they are pursuing it more.”
Simply put, there are more girls in colleges because more of them apply and more of them are well-qualified applicants. And, as UM becomes more nationally prominent, the influence of that national trend is taking effect on the school. While the rumor of a 30 to 70 percent male to female ratio on campus is inaccurate, the real statistic still shows a see-sawed scale. The male-to-female ratio of admitted freshmen for the Fall 2004 semester was close to 40 to 60 percent male to female.
“The school is not doing anything aggressive to maintain gender equity,” Ward said. “If we’re giving males more leeway so more of them can be admitted, that would be unfair to the females. What do you think that’d be called?”
Ward also says that it is UM’s mission to make admission decisions that would make the campus’ composition academically strong, as well as socially diverse.
“We’re not making decisions along stat lines,” Ward said.
To get a spot at UM this fall, high school seniors from every state in the U.S. applied. There was an increase of two percent from the previous year in the number of applications, as well as an average 10-point SAT score increase.
It is expected that more females than males will be admitted for the next school year, but the gender ratio will not be hugely disproportioned.
“We’re not creating any aggressive affirmation action policy, but I’ll tell you, if it gets to a 30 to 70 ratio, it’s an imbalance,” Ward said.
For now, current students can expect a new freshman class similar to this year’s. The total number of available freshman seats of approximately 2,000 is not a significant change from last year. Furthermore, Fall 2005’s male to female ratio has a high probability of remaining about the same. Perhaps the one sure change is that UM is increasing its reputation by the addition of a stronger, more diverse freshman class every year.
Bryce Pham can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.