Regular decision applications rose by 2.46 percent this year, increasing from 19,478 for the Class of 2019 to 19,958 for the Class of 2020.
The slight increase marks a departure from the stable number of applicants over the past few years. This is the second-largest pool of regular applications the university has received since the 20,100 collected in 2012.
However, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon emphasized the relatively predictable overall trends in the total application pool.
“Generally there aren’t many changes you can see from year to year,” Deacon said. “Our applicant pool has been in the 19,000s all along. For a lot of places, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You have to look beneath that to see all the changes that are going on.”
Georgetown College received 11,657 applications, compared to 11,461 for the Class of 2019; the School of Foreign Service collected 3,771, up from 3,597; the McDonough School of Business saw 3,294 applications, a decrease from 3,373; and the School of Nursing and Health Studies received 1,236 applications, a rise from last year’s 1,047 applications.
Black applicants increased from 1,886 to 1,975, Latino and Hispanic applicants rose from 2,364 to 2,469, Asian applicants increased slightly from 3,263 to 3,298 and white applicants rose from 11,073 to 11,568. Applications from international students remained relatively stable from 2,258 to 2,276.
In comparison to five years ago, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of regular applicants who are minorities. In 2011, 1,773 applicants were black, 2,058 were Latino and Hispanic and 2,786 were Asian. This year’s applicant pool marked an 11 percent increase in black applicants, a 20 percent rise in Latino applicants and an 18 percent growth in Asian applicants.
Continuing with the trend of past years, the largest number of applicants came from, in descending order, California, New York and New Jersey. Deacon highlighted the change in demographic patterns in terms of geography, particularly noting the rise in applications from states outside the Northeast region and the West Coast.
“While our largest historical markets, New York and New Jersey, are lower, we’re higher in other places to offset that,” Deacon said. “We certainly see Florida and Texas rising as mega-states.”
Deacon emphasized the need for the university to focus on meeting the financial requirements of students who are neither in the top socio-economic share of the population that can cover the full cost of tuition nor in the portion that receives full scholarship. Deacon pointed to the impact this challenge has on the university’s yield rate.
“There’s a part of the mix where we really do not do as well, what I call middle-income. While we meet their need for financial aid, there’s still a good amount that they still have to pay,” Deacon said. “Georgetown’s challenge going forward — and it hurts us, our yield is lower — in admissions is to figure out a way to build a financial resource that more adequately meets the needs of those students.”
Deacon also pointed to the university’s consistent recruitment strategies, even in the face of increased competition from peer institutions.
“We are kind of unusual, in the sense that we are not in a marketing frenzy, like some schools are. We are pretty much following the national trends,” Deacon said. “We’re competing, for better or worse, for a very narrow part of the high school graduate pool, the very top four or five percent, these students who get good scores and get good grades and have high aspirations.”
The overall acceptance rate for the Class of 2020 is expected to stabilize at a similar level to last year’s 16.4 percent. Deacon said the university does not employ strategies to reduce its admissions rate in order to increase its appearance of selectivity.
“In the admissions world, the Holy Grail of numbers are your admit rate and your yield,” Deacon said. “We’re in a fairly steady state, we would like to see the yield go higher, above 50 percent. But we don’t do anything to artificially create that, like early decision. We don’t try to admit people because we think they’ll come. We admit the best people and hope they’ll come.”
Regular application decisions will be released at the end of March.