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Of the 3,423 students who applied for admission to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology this year, 480 were accepted as part of the Class of 2016.

Of those who gained admission, 81 percent live in Fairfax County. The remaining 19 percent are from Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties and the city of Falls Church. Public school students make up 92 percent of those offered admission.

Thomas Jefferson, which serves as Northern Virginiaís selective magnet school, is known for its scholastic excellence. It has been named the nationís best public high school by U.S. News & World Report during all five years the magazine has published its ranking.

Throughout the years, however, some parents have criticized Thomas Jefferson for its lack of diversity.

Of those who applied to the school: 42.9 percent (1,469 students) were Asian, 36.2 percent (1,239) were white, 8.3 percent (285) were Hispanic, and 6.9 percent (235) were black.

Admissions statistics provided by the school system demonstrate a similar trend.

Of those students receiving acceptance to the school 64.2 percent (308 students) are Asian, 26.3 percent (126) are white, 2.7 percent (13) are Hispanic, and 1.5 percent (seven) are black.

Although 11.8 percent of the applicants were eligible for the federal reduced-priced or free meals program, only 1.3 percent (six students) gained admission.

Of the 1,800 students enrolled at Thomas Jefferson during the 2010-11 school year, 906 were Asian, 787 were white, 42 were Hispanic, and 34 were black, according to the Fairfax County Public Schools system.

Thomas Jefferson was converted from a regular high school in Alexandria to a magnet school in 1985, with the goal of offering a comprehensive college preparatory program emphasizing the sciences, mathematics and technology.

Candidates for admission are required to submit essays, teacher recommendations and information sheets, as well as take an admissions exam.

hhobbs@fairfaxtimes.com