GW awaits final freshman deposits

The University granted admission to 100 applicants from its waiting list this week as the admissions office is looking to enroll a freshman class of 2,400 students.

The incoming freshman class will be GW’s second largest; the University enrolled 2,578 students in 2001.

The admissions office received 2,350 deposits as of last week, and officials said they are expecting between 50 to 75 of the waiting list applicants to accept admission. Director of Admissions Kathryn Napper said there were about 1,600 people on the waiting list.

GW uses a variety of criteria to pull students off of the list, officials said.

“Sometimes we do it by major or if there is a particular state we are looking for, and if a student expressed a strong interest in the University,” Napper said.

Napper said all deposits will be in by mid-June for incoming freshman, with the exception of a few international students, who operate under different deadlines than domestic students. She said foreign applicants often have later deadlines because it is difficult to obtain visas and the proper paperwork to study here.

“We’re always pretty liberal with them submitting applications, especially in today’s environment,” Napper said.

Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak said the University will take about 275 transfer students in addition to freshmen for a total of 2,675 new students. But transfers will continue to be accepted to GW until August, Napper said.

GW also dropped its acceptance rate to 38 percent this year, the lowest in GW history. The University accepted 40 percent of its applicants last year, and the rate has decreased ten percent in the past two years.

Chernak said the improved admissions rate is due to a record number of applicants – about 1,600 more than last year. He said that current students talking about GW in their home communities has increased interest in the University.

“The University’s reputation is shaped by the people that are already here; each class gets a little better as far as scholarship and citizenship, their reputations in their communities and the way they talk and feel about the school,” Chernak said.

The University received a record-high 18,458 applications this year, up 9 percent from 2002, and accepted 7,000 students, according to the 2002-2003 University Admissions Report. Admissions officials said they originally planned to enroll 2,250 students, but the target was expanded to 2,400 to increase GW revenue and because of a strong applicant pool.

University officials regarded this year’s record-low rate as a positive step for GW, but acknowledged it may not move GW back into the U.S. News and World Reports’ top 50 universities in the country.

Each year the publication puts weight on a different aspect used to compile the rankings, including average SAT scores, acceptance rate and number of students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, officials said.

GW has remained in the second tier for four years in a row, after dropping from the top 50.

“You think that (a lower acceptance rate) would help, but they change their emphasis to a variety of criteria every year, so it’s hard to tell,” Napper said.

Chernak noted that the University does not actively seek to improve its ranking for this reason.

“It’s nice to be ranked, but when you look at the rankings there are probably about 35 spots that schools like GW will not overcome,” Chernak said. “But from an ego point of view, you prefer to be in the top 50.”

Napper said the quality of students who apply to GW continues to improve. She said average SAT scores for the Class of 2007 are expected to be as high as 1280, up 15 points from last year. Applicants had an average 1320 SAT score, while last year applicants averaged a 1300.

At Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Chernak presented a profile of the Class of 2007. He said 38 enrolling students were class valedictorians, 91 were class presidents, 1,102 participated in community service activities and 267 were editors of their high school publication, among other accomplishments.

This year all 50 states are represented except Alaska.

“The only disappointment (concerning admissions) that I have right now is that we have students from only 49 states,” Chernak said. “Interest in the University is still high overall, and I’m really pleased with efforts of the admissions staff.”
-Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report.

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