Class of 2004 exceeds enrollment target
Admissions ‘surprised’: Jonathan Taylor Thomas won’t attend NU
Administrators said Fall Quarter may begin with a few freshmen too many — and with one former “Home Improvement” star too few.

As of Friday afternoon, 1,963 members of the class of 2004 had paid their tuition deposits. But actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who was admitted to the class, is not among them.

“We were very surprised, because he had been in touch and was having very cordial conversations with our staff,” said Rebecca Dixon (Northwestern University), associate provost for university enrollment. “He used to call once a month to check on things. The next thing I heard was that he had declined.

Dixon said the admissions office did not know Thomas’ college plans.

The 1,963 students who have submitted their deposits slightly exceeds Northwestern’s target of 1,900. May 1 was the deadline for paying deposits.

“We are playing an extremely careful game trying to impose a carefully designed scheme to bring in a class at no more than 1,900 since in recent years it has exceeded that,” Dixon said.

Dixon said she expects some students to withdraw from Fall Quarter admission during the summer for a variety of reasons: They may be taken off the waiting list of a school they would prefer to attend, have family problems or defer their admission for a year, she said.

The biggest surprise in this year’s admissions total was the increase in students from overseas. NU will welcome 142 international students in the fall, compared with 91 last year. That figure reflects foreign students and Americans living overseas.

A possible explanation for the rise in overseas applications is NU’s recruiting efforts abroad. Beginning in 1995, NU has sent a recruiter to Europe and Southeast Asia every other year.

Broken down by school, the only significant leap was in students admitted to the McCormick School of Engineering. The school had a target admission number of 350 but admitted 390.

Dixon said McCormick was “flattered” but wouldn’t mind losing a few of those students before September.

Definitive breakdowns of students’ ethnicity and test scores for the Class of 2004 remained unavailable Friday. The data were incorrectly entered in the new Student Enterprise System — produced by PeopleSoft Inc. — by the 20 temporary workers hired by Dixon’s office earlier in the year.

In April, Dixon told The Daily that NU would overhaul the system’s graphical interface to make it easier for inexperienced workers to learn.

This year’s admissions cycle also saw an increase in students who did not indicate their ethnicity. The exact amount of the increase is not yet known because of the errors in data entry.

“More people just don’t particularly want you to know, or they’re multiracial and they’re just not going to make a preference,” Dixon said.

The university is considering including a “multiracial” option on the admission application within the next few years.


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