Most Diverse Class


By Ruth Jacobs

graphThe Class of 2014 will be the most diverse in Colby’s history, with 24 percent being students of color—six percentage points higher than the previous record, set with the Class of 2010. This comes after steady efforts on the part of an interdepartmental task force that worked on recruiting students of color and a year of intensive recruiting by the Office of Admissions in response to a priority set by President Bro Adams, said Director of Admissions Steve Thomas.

“Because this was very clearly explained to us as the top priority, we diverted some of our resources to the recruitment of students of color,” Thomas said.

Admissions’ efforts were leveraged by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute establishing a program in the sciences for promising students who could benefit from summer instruction. These students, often from underrepresented groups, show interest in the sciences, but they come from secondary schools where the quality of instruction may have resulted in them entering Colby less prepared for the core science curriculum.

In order to find students eligible for this CAPS program (Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences), faculty members in the sciences got involved. “We put our [science] faculty on the road,” said Janice Kassman, special assistant to the president, who worked closely with Merrill Associate Professor of Biology Andrea Tilden on CAPS recruiting.

Though CAPS was just a part of overall diversity recruiting, it gave structure to the efforts and an absolute goal—at least 10 science students—to reach for. “Even though not all the students came in under the HHMI, it got us through the door,” said Kassman. “It gave us something to talk about.”

The overall profile of the Class of 2014 is, as always, strong. Colby accepted 34 percent of applicants, and 91 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class. Students will come from 33 states, districts, and territories and 34 countries, and 14 percent of the class is international.

Ruth Jacobs

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