Admissions rate at three-year standstill

The University’s acceptance rate stood at about 33 percent for the third consecutive year.

A total of 33.4 percent of candidates were offered spots in the next freshman class, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman said Sunday.

The admissions office has struggled to boost GW’s selectivity since the rate fell to a record low of 31.7 percent in 2010, after accepting 36.8 percent of applicants in 2009.

“I care more about the quality of the student body we enroll than about the acceptance rate,” Maltzman said. “Our primary goal needs to be to bring in a great class, and this is what admissions is appropriately focused on.”

Just under 22 percent of students accepted this week will need to enroll for the University to meet its target class size of 2,350 freshmen.

Candidates accepted under the University’s binding early decision cycles already account for 41 percent of the Class of 2017. The early acceptance rate jumped nearly four points earlier this year, from 37.5 percent last year.

Maltzman said the acceptance rate could fluctuate if the University reaches into its waitlist.

While GW’s selectivity stagnated, at least five institutions that GW considers its peers, including Boston, Duke, Northwestern and Tufts universities and the University of Southern California, became more selective.

Boston University brought its acceptance rate down nine points from last year, to 36 percent, after receiving nearly 20 percent more applications.

GW’s applicant pool increased by 1 percent from last year, totalling about 21,982 applications – a figure University spokeswoman Jill Sankey said GW was content to see.

“Increasing applications for the sake of increasing selectivity does not make us a better institution,” Sankey said. “What makes us a great institution is enrolling a diverse, talented and academically gifted student body.”

This is the first year that Maltzman, a top administrator and professor, has overseen the admissions process, since Kathryn Napper retired from her post as dean of admissions in December.

It is also GW’s first application cycle after it was booted off the U.S. News & World Report best colleges ranking last fall, days after the disclosure that the admissions office inflated freshman class rank data. Since the unranking, Maltzman has said the University’s admissions cycle would not suffer collateral damage.

The University hired Bryn Mawr College admissions dean Laurie Koehler on Thursday to fill the newly established position of senior associate provost for enrollment. She will begin overseeing the financial aid, registrar and admissions offices July 1 and help choose the next dean of admissions.

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