As undergraduate applications for admission to GW continue to swell, the University accepted 400 students through early decision this year, an increase of 33 percent.
The program, which binds the applicant to attend GW if accepted, received 147 more applications than last year, going from 573 to 720, said Kathryn Napper, director of undergraduate admissions.
Napper said the increase is a logical partner to a five-year increase in regular admission applicants.
“(Early decision applications) have gone up in recent years, as have applications in general,” she said. “We’ve had a few more applications (this year) and early applications are up, which is good.”
More students are casting their hopes with the University despite the fact GW competes with schools that offer non-binding early action programs – such as Georgetown, Boston, and New York universities, Napper said.
The quality of students admitted to GW has not suffered, despite the University’s slip from U.S. News & World Report’s Top 50 ranking, Napper said. Prospective students look at the overall profile of the school, not just the U.S. News ranking, she added.
The average SAT score for incoming freshmen has increased from 1190 to 1200 during the past two years. Average SAT scores and high school grade point average for the class of 2002 will not be calculated until the May 1 acceptance deadline for the incoming class.
Napper said the investigation of an alleged affair between President Clinton and a White House intern, and presidential elections, can boost admissions since media attention is focused on Washington.
The freshman class size consistently has increased during the past five years, which is a direct result of an increase in the number of applicants, Napper said.
The percentage of students accepting GW’s offer of early admission has increased also. This year, 354 of the applicants admitted through early decision, or 88 percent of those accepted, submitted tuition deposits to confirm their acceptance by the Jan. 15 deadline. Last year, 253, or 84 percent, submitted tuition deposits.
Students accepted through early decision are required to attend unless financial restraints stand in their way. The students accepted through early decision already have received preliminary financial aid packages, which may be revised once all relevant income and tax information is verified, said Dan Small, GW’s director of student financial assistance.
The size of the incoming freshman class, however, should not affect the amount of financial aid given to current students, Small said.
“We feel we are committed to current students first,” he said. “Once (the financial aid office) knows what the tuition costs are, we go from there. I try to determine what is needed for continuing students first, and then . what is left over (for new students).”
Small said that during the past five years, despite the rising number of students at GW, between 65 and 70 percent of full-time students received financial aid. Last year, 67 percent of freshmen received some form of financial aid. The average need-based aid package was approximately $18,896.
And although early admissions are up, the University is trying to limit the number of total students admitted, Napper said.
While the number of applicants has risen, the percentage accepted has decreased. GW accepted 49 percent of its applicants for the class of 2001, with roughly 1,700 students entering the freshman class last semester, Napper said. In previous years the University’s admission rate was always more than 50 percent.
She said the admissions office is anticipating accepting about the same percentage for the class of 2002, and that she hopes to have about the same class size for next year’s freshmen.
By Dec. 1, more than 12,100 applicants had submitted the first part of the University’s two-part regular admissions application. Napper said total applications will be slightly higher than last year’s 12,445.
“We’re looking to repeat last year’s numbers in both percentage accepted and class size,” Napper said.