Early Decision I applications rise by 50 percent

The final number of Early Decision I applications increased substantially this year, after the University extended the deadline by two weeks last month.

Kathryn Napper, executive dean for undergraduate admissions, said there was a 43 percent increase in the number of Early Decision I applications, which are binding, after the application deadline closed on Nov. 27.

“Given the current economic environment, I’m pleased with the increase in early applications this year,” Napper said.

Administrators said last month that they decided to extend the early decision deadline this year by an additional two weeks to allow applicants and their families time to decide if they could financially commit to the University.

“My own sense of this decision is that in such hard times, it looks good,” said Donald Parsons, a Faculty Senate member and professor of economics, who has written extensively on early decision applications both at GW and at other institutions. “If by extending it, they can find more great students to sign their college life away, that’s great.”

Parsons said he was surprised by the spike in applications in light of the financial downturn.

“As far as I can tell, no one quite understands why, in this time when you would expect for people to be more careful, when they’re signing their decision away and waiting until later to find out what kind of aid they’re getting, people are just as – or even more – likely to sign that early decision contract,” he said.

Colleges and universities across the country that offer early decision programs have seen expansion in their early applicant pools as well, though few were as drastic as GW. Georgetown and New York University both saw a 2 percent increase in their early decision applications.

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