GW officials said the University may lower the admissions rate for next year’s freshman class to control an increasing application pool and avoid a second-straight year of surprise admissions.
“The issue is that we are going to have to be a little more conservative in our acceptances,” said Kathryn Napper, director of admissions. “My guess now is, based on how things are moving, we will be a little more cautious in the number of students we admit.”
Robert Chernak, vice president of Student and Academic Support Services, agrees that GW cannot afford another record year. “If for no other reason, because we can’t house 2,500 new students,” he said.
But, “there’s no one in admissions who will take a risk in being under,” Chernak said, adding that events like Sept. 11 and an already slowing economy could discourage students from accepting admissions offers.
Napper said she hopes top officials will use the same predicted yield rate as last year. The yield is the percent of accepted students who enroll. If GW goes with last year’s anticipated yield of about 30 percent without lowering its acceptance rate, GW could face another year of over-enrollment.
This year’s freshman class jumped to 2,500, although admissions officials said they only expected 2,200 to enroll.
Napper said recent the terrorist attacks may decrease interest in the University, but so far numbers show this is not the case.
There were 7,500 applicants last year at this point in the fall semester. So far this year, there are 10,200, Napper said, a 36 percent increase.
GW accepted 7,600 applicants for the 2001-02 academic year. Only 25 of 1,000 students placed on the waiting list were accepted.
Tulane University, in New Orleans, has faced similarly high yields in the past two years. Applications are up by 47 percent over this time last year, Tulane Assistant Vice President for Admissions Garreth Johnson said. Last year, Tulane decreased its admissions rate to keep the freshman class at the same level.
The University of Maryland at College Park got an unexpectedly large class this year. The university was hoping to enroll 4,100 new students, but 4,300 chose to attend, said admissions official Jackie Geter-Hunter.
Maryland was forced to adjust its housing system to accommodate students.
Emory University, in Atlanta, has not faced the same problem. Of the
9,607 freshmen applicants for the fall of 2001, Emory accepted 4,000. No applicants from the waiting list were accepted, and the expected 1,280 freshmen enrolled at Emory for the fall of 2001.
“I think we do a good job about knowing the students we are going to admit. We are admitting those students who are very interested in the university,” Director of Enrollment Jean Jordan said.
Emory reports over-enrolling once in the past 14 years. But GW officials indicate the system is not an exact science.
“The one thing’s that’s predictable is that the unpredictable will occur,” Chernak said. “We just don’t know when where or how.”