Fewer apply to School of Business

The School of Business was the only undergraduate school at the University to receive fewer applicants this year than last, even as the University received a record-breaking number of undergraduate applications overall. But GW is not the only school seeing fewer students interested in business.

According to a report released in January by the National Research Center for College University Admissions, fewer high school seniors across the country are expressing interest in majoring in business. Between the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years, the number of students expressing interest in being accounting and finance majors dropped 16 percent, and the number dropped 18 percent for those interested in business administration.

The School of Business, which jumped 14 spots this year to be ranked 51st in the BusinessWeek rankings, received 115 fewer applications than it did last year – a 3 percent drop. The University as a whole saw 21,135 applications, a 6 percent increase over last year.

Business as a career choice may be losing popularity because of the current economic crisis, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the School of Business Lawrence Singleton said. He blamed the drop in applications received on the diminished prospects for successful careers in business in the midst of economic difficulties.

Singleton said the decreased number of applications does not alarm him, but as a result, business schools must cope with the fact that “the financial crisis may be dissuading some students from seeking careers in business.”

“We have infused ethics and corporate social responsibility into the curriculum to prepare students to lead,” he said.

Singleton said the upsets in the current economic environment may affect the school in the long run.

“I just attended a conference of business school leaders from across the nation, and this is a common experience right now,” Singleton said, referring to the low applicant levels.

Senior Associate Dean for the School of Business Pradeep Rau said 115 fewer applications was not a significant enough number to warrant concern. Business as a whole is less attractive around the country, and the School of Business would not expect to outperform this trend due to an increase in rankings, he said, adding it is possible D.C. could attract students to majors other than business because of the political landscape in the District.

Rau was confident that a one-time deviation from the general trend of applications received is not enough to jump to conclusions about the School of Business academics.

“If business as a whole is a little less attractive around the country as a major, one would not expect any immediate surge in applications because of the improvement in rankings,” Rau said.

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