Record number apply early decision

Early decision applications increased dramatically for the second year in a row, growing 24 percent to more than 1,600 Early Decision I applications.

The increase in applications reflects the highest number of early decision applications ever for the University, which had 1,290 applications last year and 946 in 2007, said Kathryn Napper, executive dean for undergraduate admissions. The deadline for the applications was Nov. 10, but the Office of Admissions is still processing applications and GW offers a second early decision deadline Jan. 10.

Early decision programs allow students to secure their spot earlier in the admissions period with the caveat that students must pledge to enroll if accepted – even without knowing potential financial aid awards. Generally, an early decision application indicates serious interest in attending the University.

“We are very pleased by these numbers and are not surprised based on the number of students who yielded for fall 2009,” Napper said in an e-mail, referring to the number of accepted students who enrolled in GW’s class of 2013. “GW has a very strong reputation and is popular among high school students.”

The increase is reflective of a national trend that indicates more students are applying through early admissions programs. Forty-nine percent of colleges with early decision programs saw increases in applications last year, according to an Oct. 20 Chronicle of Higher Education article.

U.S. News & World Report reported on Nov. 4, that other schools like Duke University and Dartmouth College have also seen significant increases in early decision applications.

Nancy Siegel, head of the Guidance Department at Millburn High School in Millburn, N.J., said the college preparatory high school has seen a significant increase in the number of students who apply early decision, caused in part by economic hardship.

“I think there’s a strange feeling in some people here. The economy has definitely hit this community even though it’s a very upper middle class and wealthy community,” Siegel said.

Siegel said her high school has sent a number of graduates to GW in recent years and currently has 20 students from its graduating class in the process of applying to the school, which is viewed as a top choice by many Millburn graduates.

“I think some kids have done a lot of investigation and recognize that GW is a school that would fit them and applying early might help to get them in,” Siegel said. “For other kids, GW offers a perfect opportunity for them to be in the city that they love with a number of programs that are really phenomenal.”

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