Undergraduate Applications to the George Washington University Rise by More Than 28 Percent

Unprecedented Number of Students Applying to GW, Including More Students from Underrepresented Groups

Feb 04, 2016, 14:23 ET from George Washington University

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The George Washington University has received a record number of admissions applications. University admissions officials report applications for first-year, undergraduate students applying to enter for fall 2016 rose an unprecedented 28 percent over the previous year.   

As of Jan. 15, GW received 25,431 applications from students who represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 142 countries. The university received 19,833 total applications for fall 2015.

Students who chose to apply test-optional accounted for about 20 percent of applications. Officials believe that the university's new test-optional policy was one factor in the rise in applications. Other factors, including the admissions office's targeted outreach to school counselors, a more personalized and data-driven approach to recruitment and a revamped campus visit experience highlighting the university's exceptional academic programs are all believed to have contributed to the increase.  

One element that influenced GW's decision to adopt a test-optional admissions policy was a concern that outstanding, academically talented students who did not earn high scores on the SAT or ACT may have felt discouraged from applying. At the same time, studies have indicated that a sustained commitment to a rigorous course of study and exceptional performance in high school academic course work are the best indicators of how a student will fare in college.

In the first year since implementing the policy, GW has seen a significant increase in applications from students who are from underrepresented groups, including African-American, Latino and international students and first-generation college students. Officials also noted that applications from first-generation college students increased by nearly 1,100.

"We adopted our test-optional policy to strengthen and diversify an already outstanding applicant pool by reaching out to exceptional students who have been underrepresented at selective colleges and universities," said GW President Steven Knapp. "These initial results suggest that our efforts are on the right track."

Along with an increase in total applications, early decision applications for fall 2016 rose more than 30 percent over 2015 with 1,373 applying compared to 1,046 the previous year.

"While the class that will officially enroll next fall will be determined in the coming months, the high GPA from our early decision students is an early sign that GW is on its way to enrolling its strongest and most academically gifted class to date," said Laurie Koehler, vice provost for enrollment management and retention. "We are excited to see such a diverse group of applicants who feel that GW is a great fit for them."

The test-optional policy was the first of many initiatives the university has undertaken in the last year to improve access to a college education for students from all backgrounds. GW has also launched the District Scholars Award, partnered with with The Posse Foundation, and Say Yes to Education .

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SOURCE George Washington University