Admissions statistics released this month show that about 200 fewer students applied to GW through early decision this year compared to last.
For next fall, the University accepted 830 out of about 1,500 early decision applicants, 110 fewer students than were accepted for last fall when about 1,700 students applied through early decision. There was about a 5 percent increase in the early decision acceptance rate, up to 65 percent.
“The decline could just be coincidental or could be a result of the recent hype about early programs,” Kathryn Napper, the executive dean for undergraduate admissions, in an e-mail to The Hatchet. She said other universities are also seeing a slight decline in early decision applications this year.
Napper said the University expects to get as many total applications as last year, which was about 19,400. About 2,350 applicants are expected to be admitted.
Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Virginia all announced plans to drop early admission this fall, but Napper said GW is not considering ending the early decision option.
Presidents at the schools that dropped early decision have said it disadvantages low-income students because it forces them to commit to a school before comparing financial aid offers from other universities.
Napper called GW’s admission of 35 percent of the freshman class through early decision “a very reasonable percentage for a school of our size.”
Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said because there are fewer early decision applicants compared to regular decision they have a better chance of being admitted. Chernak, who oversees the Admissions department, said there is not usually a major difference between early and regular decision applicants in terms of SAT scores and class rank.
The drop in students accepted through early decision will help contribute to a planned overall decrease in the size of the freshman class. Next year’s freshman class is set to be 100 students smaller than the class of 2010 to satisfy housing constraints and Campus Plan enrollment caps.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said the planned decrease is a result of underestimates of how many students would enroll for the 2006-2007 academic year. He said 100 more freshmen and 100 more continuing students are enrolled this year than was projected.
“This isn’t a precise science, and last year we had more than anticipated,” he said. “If the number (of new freshmen) comes in between 2,350 to 2,400, we’ll be right on target.”
Napper said SAT scores and class rank of the incoming class are expected to be similar to this year’s statistics. She said they expect to maintain last year’s acceptance rate of 37 percent.