Acceptance rate hits historic low

The University’s acceptance rate has hit an all-time low, an official said Wednesday, dropping 5 percent over the last year.

Executive Dean for Undergraduate Admissions Kathryn Napper said GW accepted a record-low 31.5 percent of applicants this year, down from 36.5 percent in 2009. Napper added that the acceptance rate has hovered between 36 percent and 37 percent over the past five years, making this year’s drop the largest in recent history.

Napper said the University received 21,135 applications for the class of 2014, which is a 6 percent increase from last year. Of the applications received, 6,655 students were accepted, Napper said, marking a decrease of 550 students from one year prior.

“We anticipate meeting the budgeted target for the freshman class of 2,350 which is predicated on a yield rate of 35.3 percent and, combined with the University’s commitment to financial aid, will bring in an academically strong and dynamically motivated class,” Napper said in a news release. “This year’s applicants stood out for their academic excellence and personal interests and their remarkable dedication to service.”

Napper said all schools and colleges saw an increase in applications, except for the School of Business, which saw a drop in applicants by 115 students.

So far, 840 students from the early admissions process have sent their deposits to GW, while regular decision students have until May 1 to accept or decline GW’s offer.

But while it may seem that GW is becoming more selective, a January report by the Center for Public Education indicates that a decline in acceptance rates is a reflection of more students graduating high school and does not necessarily mean that schools are becoming more selective.

“It is no more difficult for most students to get into college today than it was a decade ago” said the report, titled “Chasing the College Acceptance Letter.” “The shrinking acceptance rates cited in so many news reports likely come from a higher number of applications per student.”

The report also said the number of high school graduates has increased in recent years, but so has the number of open spots for students at colleges and universities across the country.

“The increase in the number of applications does not necessarily mean there are fewer spots for qualified students,” the report said. “The average applicant today has about the same chance of getting into a competitive college as an average applicant a decade ago.”

University President Steven Knapp said it was too early to determine whether or not this decrease in the acceptance rate will be a lasting trend for the University.

“It is always risky to generalize on the basis of any single year’s results, and it is too soon to know exactly how our increased selectivity this year will compare to what is happening at other institutions,” Knapp said in an e-mail. “But there is no question that George Washington has been becoming more selective for a number of years now, and there is every reason to expect that trend to continue as the university’s reputation continues to grow.”

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