LC’s Prestige Improves as Acceptance Rate Drops

Ryan Fortani '22, News Editor

This past admissions cycle, Loomis Chaffee’s acceptance rate dropped to 20 percent, which shows both our community and the outside world that Loomis is now more competitive than ever. The heightened competition in our application cycle directly correlates to Loomis’s increased prestige. While many idealists may claim that the selectivity of an institution does not equal the prestige of the said institution, I must maintain a more realistic view. For without selective admissions, we fail to fill Loomis with qualified students. A decrease in the acceptance rate directly correlates to two other admissions statistics: an increase in the yield, the number of students admitted who decide to enroll, and an increase in the applicant pool.

Either of the increases in yield or applicant pool would provide numerical evidence that Loomis Chaffee is a more prestigious prep school than before. If more admitted students decide to enroll, this not only indicates that they are picking Loomis over other boarding and private schools, but also shows increased competition and selectivity within Loomis applicants.

Now, an increase in the applicant pool is an additional indication of more pronounced prestige because Loomis is being considered by a larger number of families than before. We are a school that is “hot” with prospective students and the increase in applications means that more students and families are dedicating the time to fill out essays, take the SSAT, garner teacher recommendations, and pay an application fee all in hopes of becoming members of the Loomis community.

A larger applicant pool allows us to admit higher caliber applicants. These applicants will then become members of a robust class at Loomis Chaffee, leading to strong college matriculations that further increase Loomis’ prestige.

In addition to increasing the quality of students, the lower acceptance rate makes Loomis more comparable with our peer institutions. Our school is a member of the Ten Schools Admission Organization (TSAO) which also comprises Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, Hotchkiss, The Lawrenceville School, St. Paul’s School, The Taft School, and the Hill school.

TSAO holds several information sessions each year and allows schools to collaborate in their outreach for potential admissions candidates. By associating with the TSAO, Loomis has coupled itself with several of the most prestigious prep schools in New England, yet our acceptance rate has failed to fall in line with these comparable institutions.

When Andover held an acceptance rate of 13% and a yield in the 80% range, how can we claim to be a peer institution with a previous acceptance rate that was double? Now that our acceptance rate is in line with the other member schools, it is less likely that Loomis will be seen as a backup or safety school in the eyes of prospective families, for the difference between an 18 to 20 percent acceptance rate is negligible at best.

Furthermore, a school is viewed in the light of its average students—not that of its best students nor that of its worst students. Our average SAT score, ACT score, GPA, and even the most popular college matriculations, all act as cornerstones of Loomis’ perceived prestige and thus they require that the school’s average student be above average in order for us to provide strong data in each of the aforementioned categories.

By having a lower acceptance rate, we ensure that even our average students are more than competent and reflect well upon an institution that has built and will continue to build its reputation on excellence in all ways possible. Today, we can take comfort in knowing that the incoming class is more robust and qualified than ever before, and we can hope that this trend of increasing selectivity continues for it benefits the internal community and the external prestige of Loomis Chaffee.