By Lily Jamaludin

This Sunday and Monday, some of the most talented applicants to the class of 2017 will be visiting campus for an admitted students program.

In a new program this year, top applicants were notified of their admission much earlier than usual and invited to come to campus for this program. The goal is to increase yield among top students by introducing them to the College earlier.

“Among the students who applied regular decision, we were able to identify a group of the most talented ones, really a fantastic group of students,” said Doug Badger, Director of Admission. “We were able to decide pretty quickly that we wanted to admit them and so we sent them their offers of admission earlier than they were expecting, earlier than the rest of their applicants and invited them to this program.”

More than 400 students were initially invited, and about 130 decided to come. The College offered to pay $500 of each student’s travel costs.

On Sunday, admitted students will register at 6 p.m. at the JRC. That evening, parents will be invited to have dinner and conversation with President Raynard Kington. Students will have a separate dinner with college staff and students, with a performance by G-Tones. Students will also have the opportunity to attend an improv performance in Bob’s Underground Café.

“We think it will be a lot of fun for students [to] get to know each other and mix together in Bob’s,” Badger said.

On Monday, there will be a mixture of campus tours, class visits and panels on study abroad, internships, research and postgraduate success.

“We think by the time they’ve done all that, that’ll be a great introduction to Grinnell,” Badger said. “It is an exceptional program which will give these prospective student an opportunity to see Grinnell for the exceptional place that it is.”

Badger stated that students’ financial situations did not play a role in the decision to admit them earlier.

“That wasn’t a factor in our deliberations. We were able to, much like we review every application… go through that process of looking at their transcript, looking at their test scores, their essays, their letter of recommendation—there are some where it’s an easier decision than others. These are students we would have admitted any year and been thrilled to have on campus. We see them as the top slice academically,” Badger stated.

Rather, the students’ academic achievements were the determining factor in the decision to invite them this weekend.

“It’s an extraordinarily talented group academically,” Badger said. “They have many other excellent qualities too, but that’s really the foundation of how we identified them. The average [SAT] score for this group of students is just under 1480, extraordinarily high. I think that’s one indicator of how talented this group is, but that’s not where we stopped our analysis—they also had to be excellent students in their school and taken the tougher classes. But test scores is one of the things that stand out to me. That’s 120 points higher than our average enrolled student last year.”