Dean of admission is leaving Princeton University after 15 years

Janet Lavin Rapelye. Photo: Brian Wilson, Princeton University Office of Communications.

Janet Lavin Rapelye, Princeton University’s dean of admission since 2003, has been named the president of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education.

“Janet Rapelye has served with distinction for 15 years as Princeton’s dean of admission,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said in a statement. “Choosing among the thousands of qualified applicants to Princeton is a nearly impossible task, and she has handled it with skill, sensitivity and integrity.  We wish her well as she assumes her new role.”

The Consortium on Financing Higher Educations represents 35 highly selective private liberal arts colleges and universities, including Princeton. The organization is based in Cambridge, Mass., and has an office in Washington, D.C.

“I am honored to take on this leadership role at the Consortium on Financing Higher Education to work with the member colleges and universities, which are committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of admitted students,” Rapelye said about her new post. “It has been a privilege to serve as dean of admission at Princeton for the past 15 years and to admit each class with my admission colleagues. I have appreciated the support of President Eisgruber, the trustees, Dean of the College Jill Dolan and the whole Princeton community. I look forward to seeing the successes of the students in the future, albeit from afar.”

During Rapelye’s tenure, applications to Princeton nearly tripled to 35,370 in 2018. Princeton has also tripled the number of admitted students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants from 7 percent in the Class of 2007 to an estimated 23 percent for those offered admission this fall to the Class of 2022. Princeton University also reinstated its early-action admission program and resumed accepting transfer students last fall.

Rapelye will succeed Kristine Dillon, who is retiring after heading the consortium since 2002. Rapelye was dean of admission at Wellesley College from 1991 to 2003 and was associate director of admissions at Bowdoin College from 1986 to 1991. She previously worked in the admissions offices at Stanford University and Williams College. She also taught at a rural public high school in Wells River, Vt. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams and a master’s degree in education from Stanford. She is an honorary member of Princeton’s Class of 1980.

Jill Dolan, a professor of theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts, will be acting dean of admission until a permanent dean is named. She will chair the search committee for Rapelye’s replacement.