WEB EXCLUSIVE: GW ranks among safety schools to Wall Street Journal’s `New Ivies’

GW ranked as a safety school for the “new Ivies” in The Wall Street Journal’s Dow Jones Safety School Index, an informal list that recognizes a rise in admission standards for top schools in recent years.

The Journal describes the11 “new Ivies” as schools once considered back-ups to traditional Ivy League schools, but now selective enough to be in a separate class.

GW ranks in the “safe” category for schools that are back-ups to the new Ivies. Duke University in North Carolina is listed as a new Ivy League school as well as Georgetown University. American University appears ranks below GW in the “safer” category, along with Boston University.

According to the index, New York University is a new Ivy League school, with an acceptance rate of 29 percent and SAT range between 1270 and 1450.

The Journal lists Boston College, Colgate, Emory and Fordham universities and GW at the top of the “safe” category.

“I’m more interested in the schools we are portrayed as being ahead of,” University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said. “These are serious, grown-up places.”

Trachtenberg said GW is ranked among an impressive array of universities.

“If you’ve been on the campuses of these places, you’d see they’re terrific,” he said. “You’re not embarrassed that Duke is on the list ahead of you.”

For the index the Journal polled a panel of five college admissions counselors, students, guidance counselors and college officials, according to the article.

The Journal compared each school’s acceptance rates, SAT scores and average high school grade point average, according to the article. GW is listed with a middle SAT range of 1160-1320, the second-lowest among 11 schools in the “safe” category. GW’s 49 percent acceptance rate ranked third-lowest in the category. The University’s average high school GPA was not listed.

Direct marketing has given GW its biggest boost in applications, according to the index.

Director of Admissions Kathryn Napper said marketing is not the only reason for GW’s 140 percent application boost in the past 12 years.

“It’s a narrow way to look at where we are,” she said. “(Even if) we market well, if people weren’t getting a (good) product they wouldn’t be happy.”

Napper said the number of applications jumped 10 percent from last year.

“Anything that’s gone into the University in the past 12 years has gone to (improving our status),” she said.

Trachtenberg said GW had only 6,000 applicants a year when he became president more than a decade ago, compared to the about 16,000 applicants this year. The quality of GW applicants is also on the rise, Trachtenberg said.

“It’s not just more people, it’s a wider geographic array,” he said. “Quality is way the heck up.”

Trachtenberg said Georgetown has an advantage over GW’s marketing techniques because students from private Catholic schools comprise one-fourth of Georgetown’s freshman class.

“We play with Georgetown with one arm behind our back,” he said.

Students said rankings do not change their view of GW.

“When I came here, I considered it a top school anyway,” freshman Andrew Synnott said.

The Journal’s rankings are not official, but some students said they are happy GW was recognized.

“GW’s worked hard to improve its image, and its obvious that it’s working,” senior Rebekah Jumper said. “It makes my degree worth more.”

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