University celebrates 20,000th application

University administrators marked GW’s 20,000th applicant Wednesday with cake, balloons and an appearance by University mascot Little George.

The University expects to break last year’s record of 18,400 applicants by more than 2,000 applicants. Officials marked the record number during a small ceremony in the admissions office with University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg opening the envelope.

“For us to go to 20,000 applicants in a brief period of time is very special,” Trachtenberg said, noting that GW received between five and six thousand applicants during his first year as president in 1989.

But the applicant, Jon Urban of Ohio, will not receive any unique benefits for being the lucky number 20,000, with Trachtenberg ending his remarks by saying, “Throw it back in the stack.”

The University plans to admit a freshman class of 2,400, similar to this year’s class, said Kathryn Napper, director of University Admissions.

She said GW does not expect to lower its admissions rate, which hit a record low of 38 percent last year, but said the office will not have final numbers until all applicants are processed. She also said she is unsure of how many accepted students will enroll next year.

GW received 10,000 applicants in 1995 and 15,000 in 2001.

“It is a testament to how the University has changed and grown,” Napper said.

Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak quipped that the student will no longer have to pay tuition in the coming years because GW will soon be able to function on application fees alone.

Napper said the University is receiving an increasing amount of applications from California, Illinois and Minnesota, as well as from traditional states such as New Jersey and New York.

“We are trying to maintain a national presence,” she said.

She also said that international student applications are also gradually increasing, but the yield rate – the number of accepted students who enroll – is down because of a difficulty for prospective students to obtain visas. She added that Australian colleges are taking advantage of the country’s relative lack of visa restrictions and are offering significant financial aid packages to foreign students.

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