Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Early Applicant Pool Seen as Strongest Ever

Applications to Georgetown’s undergraduate programs increased slightly this year, demonstrating an unusually competitive pool with a 25 percent increase in average SAT scores, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

The admissions office projects a total of 15,200 applications for this year, a 2 percent increase from last year’s 14,837 applications received, Dean of Admissions Charles Deacon said.

Early action applications to the undergraduate schools rose slightly, up from 3,847 last year to 4,003 this year. The early action application rate has stabilized this year, after last year’s 25 percent decrease in applications, largely due to a decision by Harvard University, Yale University and Stanford University to change to a single-choice early action policy, Deacon said.

Single-choice early action policies require that student applicants apply to only one school during the fall semester, although they are not obligated to attend the school if they are accepted.

Georgetown operates a less restrictive early action policy, allowing applicants to apply early to Georgetown and to as many other early action schools as desired.

Deacon predicts that Georgetown’s regular acceptance rate will closely reflect the early action acceptance rate, which was 22.7 percent this year.

“Our aim is to keep those rates the same, so a student looking in from the outside would not see that there’s any big advantage [to applying early], and would rather apply because they felt it was a school they would really try for,” he said.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions plans to admit 3,100 students this spring for approximately 1,500 seats in the freshman class, making use of a waitlist policy in the case of a lower yield rate, Deacon said. The office is roughly predicting a 20 to 22 percent acceptance rate for regular admission applicants.

The early action pool was the strongest that the admissions office has ever received, judging by what Deacon called the two quality indicators of admission – a 25 percent jump in average SAT scores and an increase in percentile class rank.

With early accepted students having an average SAT score of 1450 and an average class rank in the top 3 percent of their high school peers, Deacon predicts that the regular applicant pool will yield similar results.

“The quality is substantially higher on test scores, about 10 points higher than average for both verbal and math sections, a truly dramatic increase in the numbers,” he said, explaining that out of the 15,200 applications already received, 3,200 students scored above 750 on the verbal section of the SAT.

“With these higher test scores, some of the students’ personal qualities will become more important for admission,” Deacon said.

Although the office of undergraduate admissions is still reviewing regular applications, early action numbers show an increasing number of applications to the Walsh School of Foreign Service, indicative of a growing interest in international affairs since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Since 9/11, a shift towards public service is becoming a goal again, which is certainly a healthy sign, since Georgetown is pretty well positioned in that respect. For example, there are now 75 students signing up to be Arabic majors, where five years ago there were only five,” Deacon said.

Deacon attributed stable application numbers for the College and the McDonough School of Business to the lagging economy and business job market.

“Through a period in the ’90s, business was becoming the issue, but since the boom years of 2000, business has gone through a dip and then stabilized,” he said.

In regard to future early action policies of other schools, Deacon said that Ivy League schools such as Princeton University and Brown University may also switch to single-choice early action programs similar to those of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. Princeton and Brown currently use binding early-decision programs.

A small number of universities still adhere to early action policies similar to Georgetown’s, including schools such as the University of Chicago, Notre Dame, Boston College and MIT, Deacon said.

“We’re different even from these schools in that we do restrict people from applying early decision somewhere else, but we believe that’s an appropriate restriction to have,” he said.

Starting next year, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will change its SAT policy, accepting either the old SAT or new SAT, which will be administered by the College Board starting this arch.

Although the new SAT will have a new writing section and equivalent score, Georgetown will not take the writing score into account, unlike other peer schools. Instead, Georgetown will take both the highest math and verbal scores from either the old or new SAT.

“Behind this rationale is our concern that the addition of a writing section adds both time and money, a barrier to low-income students, who will do better on an achievement-oriented basis,” Deacon said.

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