Early Decision I applications down

Early Decision I applications dropped by nearly 200 to 950 this year, the first in which students applying to GW under the binding agreement were aware of the University’s fixed tuition plan.

Of the 950 early decision applicants, 560 were admitted. The average SAT score for the newly admitted students, who represent 37 states, D.C., Italy, Saudi Arabia and Singapore,?is 1245. Next year’s freshman class will pay a fixed yearly tuition of $36,370 during their time at GW.

Early Decision applicants, who agree to attend the University if admitted, can apply for early admission in one of two phases. The Early Decision I deadline was Nov. 15 and the Early Decision II deadline was Jan.15. Numbers are not yet available for Early Decision II.

Kathryn Napper, director of Undergraduate Admissions, said she is not surprised by the decrease in Early Decision I applications and attributed it to a single-choice early action policy adopted by schools such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale that prevents students from applying early to more than one school.

Early action applications show a student’s preference for a university but do not obligate the student to attend if admitted. Previously, students could apply early action to one of those schools and early decision to another.

Despite a drop in application numbers so far, “there is no change from last year in the quality of students admitted,” Napper wrote in an e-mail.

At New York University, an all-time high number of 3,302 students applied to NYU’s undergraduate schools through the early decision process. The 14 percent increase in early decision applications to NYU comes after applications to the university’s undergraduate programs fell by more than 300 the preceding year, Washington Square News, the school’s daily student newspaper, reported.

Napper said a “dip in applications last year” could account for NYU’s early decision application increase, but said she does not have enough information about NYU’s situation to comment on their numbers.

Students who apply early decision are notified of their status by mid-December, whereas students who apply by the regular Jan. 15 deadline receive notification around April 1. The total number of applications to GW has increased each year for the past 10 years. GW received a total of more than 20,000 applications last year.

“We’re still receiving applications for regular decision,” Napper said. “At this point, I would estimate that our total number of applications will be similar to last year. So given the fact that we have fewer (early decision) applications, I would predict that we will have slightly more applications for regular decision.”

Napper said the University is planning to enroll a freshman class of 2,400, the same size they planned for last year. GW enrolled about 200 more students than they planned to last year after more students accepted admission than anticipated. This year’s freshman class of 2,623 is the largest in University history.

Napper said GW might admit a smaller percentage of applicants and increase the percentage of applicants offered a space on the wait list to ensure a freshman class size consistent with plans, but said the decision would not be made until the University assesses the applicant pool.

Although early applications dropped by about 17 percent, officials believe a fixed tuition, combined with guaranteed student aid policies, could result in more interest from prospective students.

The University approved the fixed tuition plan in February 2004, after early decision students from this year’s freshman class were admitted to GW.

Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said he anticipates the plan will “have a positive effect” on the University’s yield and retention rates. The yield rate is the percentage of students admitted to GW that choose to matriculate.

“The plan is not expected nor was intended to increase applications. Application flow will be more influenced in the short term by other factors,” Chernak wrote in an e-mail. He added that it will take a few years to gauge the attractiveness of the fixed tuition plan.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.