A record high of 19,300 students have applied for admission to Georgetown’s Class of 2015, signaling a 6.8 percent jump from last year’s 18,070 applicants, according to Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon.
Deacon said in an interview with The Hoya that the increase largely reflects a higher number of black and Latino students submitting applications. Overall, the percentage of non-white applicants was about 45 percent.
“The largest part of the increase is coming from students of color [and] underrepresented minorities in particular,” Deacon said.
Deacon’s office saw applications from blacks spike by over 25 percent in both the early and regular application cycles this year. The number of Latino students applying jumped even more, going up by about 34 percent.
According to Deacon, the demographic changes may be attributed to recent university efforts to diversify the applicant pool, but he added that the allure of a college degree was probably the main reason for the jump.
“You need to get a college degree to compete in this world. Beyond that, a college degree from really elite schools probably is even more of an advantage,” Deacon said. “I think there’s been a big push now for a number of years to try to include underrepresented minority students into the pool. And I think that’s not just Georgetown.”
This increase in minority students might place added strain on the university’s budget, however, as it may result in more financial aid requests, Deacon said. Georgetown’s admissions process is completely need-blind, so the budget would have to expand to accommodate an incoming freshman class with greater need. The yield could reflect the university’s ability to meet the full demonstrated financial need of students, as other schools could offer more competitive financial aid packages to minority students.
Financial concerns aside, Deacon said he was excited by the makeup of the applicant pool.
“We’re very happy with what this year looks like,” he said.
A rise in applications from California, Florida and Georgia — states with growing minority populations — may partially account for the shifting demographic nature of the applicant pool as well, Deacon said.
Other contributing factors include an increase in public school applicants, from 52 percent of the applicant pool eight years ago to about 61 percent this year.
The SAT scores of prospective students appear to be slightly lower than last year’s, according to Deacon, a trend which was probably due to the lower average standardized test scores of minority students. Average class rank remains steady in the 91st percentile, identical to last year’s pool, Deacon said.
Across undergraduate schools, the McDonough School of Business saw the greatest increase in applications, with 3,000 applicants compared to last year’s 2,500. The School of Nursing and Health Studies had its largest applicant pool ever, with close to 1,200 students applying. These increases may reflect students’ growing desire to graduate with more career-oriented degrees, according to Deacon.
The School of Foreign Service saw a pool of almost 3,400 applicants, up about 4 percent from 3243 applications last year; the College had about 12,000 hopefuls — a 5 percent increase in applications.
It is unclear though, whether there are really more individual students applying to elite schools, Deacon said. Each student may simply be applying to more schools because acceptance rates are dropping across the board. Stanford University’s acceptance rate dropped from 7.6 percent to 7.2 percent between 2009 and 2010, and Princeton University’s rate dropped from 9.4 percent to 8.2 percent, according to the Yale Daily News.
The percentage of accepted students will likely go down from last year’s 20 percent to around 18 percent this year because of both the higher number of applicants and an enrollment cap setting the incoming freshman class at around 1,580 students due to pressures from the neighborhood, Deacon said. The early admissions rate was just under 17 percent last fall.