While much about the next few months is uncertain, we can be sure that regardless as to whether classes are still online by then or not, there will be a new school year come September. With every new school year comes a new first-year class, and this year’s, the Class of 2024, faces an unprecedented set of challenges given the circumstances.
Since the middle of March, college campuses, including Bates, have been closed to prospective and admitted students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While just under half of the Class of 2024 had already committed to Bates through the early decision rounds at that point, many students were left without the ability to visit Bates again, or even for the first time.
Yet, while so much of Bates lies in the physical setting of the college— the beautiful historic quad, the ethereal Gomes Chapel and the cozy corners in Commons—Bates is so much more. More than anything, students will tell you that the spirit of Bates is found in the community of people, the strength of the academic programs, and the unyielding support offered by the college.
To tackle this issue, in place of in-person admitted students receptions, Bates has opted to create a virtual space in order to provide students with information they would otherwise have learned about through information sessions and tours.
In collaboration with Communications, the Office of Admissions has launched “Bringing Bates to You,” with the hopes of providing admitted students with an abundance of resources on what it means to be a Bates student. This page has a wealth of information about Bates’ unique programs, including information on first-year programs, the Academic Resource Commons (Bates’ free peer tutoring service), the Office of Purposeful Work and many of Bates’ signature campus traditions.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Leigh Weisenburger spoke to The Bates Student about the incoming Class of 2024 and the initiatives created to connect and inform the incoming students and their families.
In addition to the new virtual space, the Admissions Office has created two Facebook groups for students and parents, in which both groups can be in contact and maintain a dialogue between themselves and Bates representatives.
“There is frequent and lively dialogue there among newly admitted students and their families with programming such as regular Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions showcasing various campus partners and programs such as Campus Life, Noelle Chaddock, VP for Equity and Inclusion, Purposeful Work, and more,” Dean Weisenburger wrote.
For students accepted during the regular decision round of admissions, the deadline to commit to Bates remains May 1.
Dean Weisenburger noted that admissions saw “continued growth in geographic diversity, racial and ethnic diversity, and strength of academic profile” in the Class of 2024 applications. One change that Bates made in the application process this year allowed for students to self-report standardized test scores, rather than asking students to pay the College Board to send an official report. This was done with the intention of increasing access to potential students.
The official statistics about the incoming class will not be fully compiled until after the May 1 decision deadline, but the Class of 2024 follows on the heels of the increasingly strong and diverse rising sophomore, junior, and senior classes.
The Class of 2024 also had the second largest applicant pool in Bates history, with 7,695 students applying. This year’s applicant pool fell short of being the largest in Bates’s history by a little more than 500 students, with the Class of 2023 attracting 8,222 applicants and boasting an acceptance rate of 12.1%.