The largest stack of applications GW has ever received by this time of the year continues to accumulate in the Admissions Office. About 15,500 applications were in by Friday, ahead of last year by 630 applications. Director of Admissions Kathryn Napper said she expects to surpass last year’s record-breaking total of 16,910 applications.
“We’ve been pretty much 600 (applicants) ahead for six weeks or so, so I would assume that would continue … I’m estimating 17,500,” Napper said.
She said the last rounds of Early Decision I deposit checks and regular decision and Early Decision II applications are pouring in to meet the Jan. 15 postmark deadline.
The University offered admission to nearly 600 out of 1,668 students for Early Decision I over winter break. Last year, 618 Early Decision I students were admitted out of 1,626.
Only 83 percent of Early Decision I applicants responded to their acceptances so far, but Napper said it is common to still be receiving acceptances past the date.
“Even though Jan. 15 is the deadline for them to respond to us, there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that may delay for a couple of weeks, so this is not unusual to not have all of them,” Napper said.
This year’s incoming Early Decision I students boast the highest average SAT scores and GPAs the University has ever accepted. The average SAT score rose about 15 points, bringing the middle score to about a 1310.
Demographically, the enrolling Early Decision students represent eight countries, 39 states and D.C., the Virgin Islands and 464 different high schools. Nearly half have volunteered in community service activities and more than a third participated in varsity athletics.
“(GW) is not like a state institution, where you have a lot of varsity sports,” Napper said. “It’s much more integrated into the school. Ten percent or less play varsity sports here, but one third (of) that are coming having varsity experience.”
Early Decision II applicants have the same deadline as regular decision applications but are bound to attend GW, like Early Decision I applicants, if accepted. Napper plans on admitting about 200, the same as last year. Although there are no direct plans to expand the Early Decision II program, the future possibility of accepting more than 200 does exist.
“There’s no plan, but it depends upon the quality (of applicants),” she said. “When the quality gets better, you can take a few more.”
Despite the rise in applications across the board, Early Decision II numbers have decreased slightly, down 12 applications from last year. But numbers are expected to match last year’s totals.
Napper said the admissions goal is to keep the acceptance rate between 40 and 45 percent. GW had a 40 percent acceptance rate last year.
“As long as ED stays and ED two stays as strong as we’d like, we can do that,” she said.
The office is currently working on ensuring a class size of 2,250, the same as last year. If the yield – the number of students enrolling out of the number of students accepted – is too high, then the quota will be surpassed.
Even without an additional influx of students, construction continues around campus for additional housing. The University is currently building a 770-person “Superdorm” across from the Health and Wellness Center and opened up the 1957 E St. housing facility this year.
“The University intends to provide sufficient housing to accommodate 70 percent of the full-time undergraduate population,” said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for student and academic support services, in December. “In addition, the University plans to offer more housing to assist graduate, law and medical students. The current housing inventory is insufficient to meet these goals.”
Last year was the first year that the 2,250-person quota was strictly enforced because GW admitted an extra 300 freshmen the year before and had to acquire City Hall and the Pennsylvania House in order to fit the students on campus in 2001.
“We wait-listed a lot more and carefully, carefully took them off of the list,” Napper said.
She noted that admissions was mostly successful using this method, only going over the quota by a few students, and plans to execute the same policy this spring.