GW admitted more students this fall than it has resources to accommodate. Classroom space is exhausted, housing is tight, and the dining hall is cramped. But if complaining students momentarily overlook their congested campus and recognize what it means for their future, they may find things are looking up. Overcrowding signals positive feedback for the University: GW’s image is steadily improving.
GW’s popularity is soaring among high school students. More than 14,000 high school seniors applied for positions in this fall’s freshman class. GW admitted about 49 percent of them for the 1999-2000 school year. The number of freshmen applicants has almost doubled since 1993, when GW attracted 7,875 applicants and admitted 64.3 percent. The administration aimed to enroll a class of approximately 2,000 freshmen for this fall, but in May the Office of Undergraduate Admissions was surprised to still be receiving letters from matriculating freshman. The Class of 2003 entered GW at about 2,100 strong.
“GW has become a more popular choice for students,” said Sammie Robinson, associate director of Admissions. “High school counselors tell us they describe GW as a `hot school.'”
The increasing number of applicants over the years allows GW to be more selective, which makes the school more desirable for prospective students. Each class that is admitted has a higher average college entrance exam score and better credentials than the previous class. As the University is receiving more competitive applications, more of those students are making the decision to come to GW.
This trend proves to be a healthy indicator for administrators who have been working hard to advance the caliber of the University through what it offers to students. The climb in quantity and quality of students in recent years demonstrates how GW’s reputation as a prominent institution has improved.
Overcrowding is frustrating and uncomfortable, but it is a negative byproduct of a positive growth process. The problem can be remedied with construction, but, unfortunately, it is not an overnight solution.
In the meantime, current students must put up with crowded classrooms and construction on campus. Their patience will pay off in 20 years when their degree from GW is more valuable, as the national merit and reputation of the school continues to rise.
-The writer is editorial assistant of The GW Hatchet.