GW plans for 2,400 freshmen

While GW became more selective this year, officials said they plan to enroll the second largest freshman class in University history.

The University accepted 38 percent of applicants this year, down from 40 percent last year, but plans to enroll 2,400 freshmen next year after months of professing a goal of 2,250.

“As the budget was becoming fine tuned … the enrollment goal was changed,” said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services. “(When we determined) what it’s going to require to operate the University at this level … that became the enrollment target.”

The University could receive an additional $6 million from the tuition and fees of an extra 150 freshmen.

Officials are calling the quality of the applicants “superior,” as GW received a record 18,400 applications, up from about 17,000 last year.

“We received more applications this year than ever before,” said Kathryn Napper, director of undergraduate admissions.

More than 6,800 applicants were sent offers of admission, while another 700 were put on the wait list, Napper wrote in an e-mail.

Chernak said GW is using the wait list to guard against admitting too many students to prevent a situation similar as that of two years ago, when an unexpected yield led to an extra 300 students. The additional freshmen, coupled with a housing waiting list of more than 400, forced GW to lease City Hall and Pennsylvania House.

Chernak said he expects a 33-34 percent yield, the number of accepted students who come to GW, similar to past years. He said the University could accept about 10 percent of applicants on the wait list to come to a “soft landing” of 2,400 freshmen.

He added that the University will have “sufficient” facilities for more students next year, including enough classroom space and housing for freshmen. The University is placing freshmen in Madison Hall and newly-converted Fulbright Hall quads next year to compensate for the loss of the Hall on Virginia Avenue as a freshman residence. City zoning requirements demand that the University house all freshman and sophomores within campus boundaries – eliminating the Aston, City Hall, Pennsylvania House and HOVA for underclassman housing.

“(The bigger freshman class) won’t have an affect on returning students … the 150 students aren’t all necessarily resident students,” Chernak said.

Napper said the incoming class has an average SAT score of 1260, up from 1240 last year.

“It seems like the quality of students has gone up,” said sophomore Vanessa Maltin, a Student Admissions Representative. “If you look at the SAT range now, it’s approaching 1300. When I applied it was only in the low 1200 range. Incoming students seem to be extremely motivated.”

Last year, international students made up 3 percent of admitted applicants, while this year the number increased to four percent. Similar to last year, 23 percent of those admitted are multicultural, while 12 percent did not specify ethnicity

“Getting into GW was a good feeling because I got rejected from Emory, my first choice school, so I decided to apply Early Decision II here,” said David Shanker, an incoming freshman from Margate, New Jersey. “(Getting accepted to GW) was a combination of relief and excitement.”

Officials said they are running programs to attract accepted applicants to commit to GW. The first of these was held Monday, with 90 prospective students in attendance.

“We have eleven admitted student visit days scheduled for the month of April,” Napper said. “These programs allow admitted freshmen an opportunity to take a final look at GW before deciding on where they will enroll this fall.”

Admitted applicants said the application process was a “nerve-racking” experience.

“It’s something new,” said accepted applicant Danielle Tholey, from Huntingdon Valley, Pa. “You have to write all of these essays and you’re not sure what (admissions officials) are looking for. All you can do is put yourself out there, and then it’s up to them.”

Chernak said the University will be able to accommodate the additional students at the five Colonial Inauguration sessions.

Accepted students have until May 1 to send in deposits to declare their intent to enroll at GW.

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