College Visit: Princeton plans to expand its undergraduate student population sooner than expected.

Since there has been a substantial increase in the number of undergraduates studying abroad, the actual number of students on campus is closer to 4,600. After the expansion, the on-campus undergraduate student population will most likely be closer to 5,100. The expansion will begin with an increase in the number of students admitted to the class of 2009.

The school plans to enroll 1,226 students for the classes of 2009 and 2010 as a result of a revised plan that was approved by the trustee executive committee, according to the site. This new number is 28 more students than was originally planned for the class of 2009.

For the classes of 2011 and 2012, the admissions committee plans to admit an additional 50 students for each year, increasing class sizes to 1,276. The increase occurs concurrently with the opening of Whitman College and the renovation of Butler College, two dormitories. The class of 2013 will then reach the level of 1,312 students. Officials expect that the undergraduate population will reach the projected number of 5,200 in the fall of 2012, according to the site.

Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman believes that the University has the resources to begin expansion as soon as possible. “While our original planning anticipated a single increase of 125 students per class beginning in 2007, we believe it makes more sense to build up to that number gradually,” she said, according to the Princeton Web site. “Largely because of the construction of Bloomberg Hall [a dormitory that will open before Whitman College], we have enough additional housing capacity to accommodate this modest increase before the completion of Whitman College, and we are confident that we have the necessary academic, campus life and administrative resources in place to meet the needs of these students. In a year when we have a record number of applications, this decision allows us to admit more students from an excellent pool.”

This year, Princeton reviewed 16,453 admissions applications, constituting a 20 percent increase from last year. Princeton has already accepted 593 student through the early decision process. Regular decision applicants will be notified of acceptances in April.