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Brown led the Ivy League with a 14 percent increase, while Penn was second with a 6.6 percent rise. Admissions applications in the Ivy League are up almost across the board, with most of the eight institutions showing increases in the number of applications received for the Class of 2004. Brown University had by far the largest gain in the number of applications received, with a 14 percent rise from last year. The Providence, R.I., school received a total of 16,784 applications this year. Penn, whose number of applications increased by 6.6 percent to a total of 18,803 applications, saw the second-greatest increase among the Ivy schools, followed by Harvard, Columbia and Cornell universities. Dartmouth College and Yale University received slightly fewer applications this year, seeing 0.9 and 3.2 percent drops, respectively. Statistics for Princeton University were unavailable. Marlyn McGrath Lewis, director of admissions at Harvard, attributed the school's 2.9 percent increase partly to the growing role of technology in the admissions process. "With the availability of information on the Web, there is some inevitability that people will find out [more] about us," she said. "And it has become more and more easy to apply [with online applications]." Mark Cannon, deputy executive director of the National Association for College Admission Counseling -- a group of admissions officers and high school guidance counselors -- said the increased use of technology contributed significantly to the rising number of applications. "Technology is improving the students' ability to search for compatible institutions," Cannon said. "Technology has enhanced communication -- college admissions officers use e-mail to communicate with applicants." Cannon said having application forms online has also played a role in the rise, adding that students who in past years would have applied to only five schools are now applying to as many as 15 to 20. Columbia reported a similar increase of 2.7 percent, seeing about 15,650 applicants for its Class of 2004. And applications rose by about 1.5 percent at Cornell University, going from 19,934 applications last year to a total of 20,200 this year. According to Cornell Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Donald Saleh, the school will likely admit about 30 percent of the applicants -- 400 fewer students than last year. Both Penn and Cornell's yield rates -- the number of students admitted who choose to matriculate -- last year were higher than expected. At Penn, this overflow led to an on-campus housing shortage last fall. In response, both schools anticipate lower acceptance rates this year. "We over-enrolled the freshman class," Saleh said. "We're making a dramatic step this year to make sure that we don't bring in a class larger than our target." Penn Admissions Dean Lee Stetson said Penn will rely on the wait-list more heavily this year to control the size of the Class of 2004. Meanwhile, Dartmouth reported 10,165 applications this year, just slightly lower than the 10,260 received last year. And Yale University received 12,809 applications, 3.2 percent fewer than last year. Yale Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Richard Shaw said in an interview with The Harvard Crimson this month that publicity from the high-profile murder of senior Suzanne Jovin in December 1998 might account for the smaller applicant pool this year. The Ivy schools will all be sending out their letters of acceptance to high school seniors in early April.

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