Applications from minority students surged in this year’s early action admissions cycle, according to Charles Deacon, dean of undergraduate admissions.

The number of applications from black students swelled by 44.9 percent this fall, with 526 applying this year, up from 363 early applications last year. Among Asian-Americans and international students, applications rose by 11.4 percent and 29.5 percent, respectively. This year’s early cycle saw a 34.3 percent upturn in applications from certain Latino students, though complete statistics for that demographic were unavailable.

“The most dramatic [change] is the distribution by ethnicity. All of the increase has come from students of color. That is in keeping with national trends,” Deacon said. “So we’re very happy about that increase.”

Of the undergraduate schools, the School of Nursing and Health Studies saw the steepest rise in early action applicants. The number of applications went up by about 28.3 percent, from 376 applications last year to 475 this year. The McDonough School of Business also saw a large increase, about 15.5 percent, from 826 early applications last year to 954 so far this year.

According to Deacon, this jump in applications to career-oriented undergraduate schools is a result of the economic downturn and new and planned construction on campus. The economic downturn has forced students to search for a more directly applicable major, such as one in the sciences or in business, according to Deacon. The Rafik B. Hariri Building, opened in 2009, and the new science center, which is set to open in 2012, may also make those majors more appealing to prospective students, Deacon said.

“What we’re concluding from this is that students right now are tending to apply to more practical areas like nursing and health studies. Maybe business may lead to jobs. Sciences may lead to professions like medicine,” Deacon said. “So there’s a slight tendency for people to be defensive in how they’re applying, not surprisingly, given the economy the way it is.”

The College saw an increase in applications of about 8 percent, with a noticeable spike in the number of students interested in pursuing a science major. The number of applications to the Faculty of Language and Linguistics remained steady, and the Walsh School of Foreign Service saw about a 2.2 percent boost.

The current applicant pool is about the same as past years in terms of academic credentials. SAT math and critical reading combined scores have decreased from 1355 to 1350, and average class rank hovers at the 91st percentile. For this application pool, Georgetown decided to slightly change the SAT II requirements. Instead of requiring all three of the tests, the tests are now only strongly recommended. While many schools eliminated the third SAT II requirement altogether, the Georgetown admissions committee finds it valuable, especially for science and language majors, according to Deacon.

According to Deacon, the early application pool generally boasts more applications from the Northeast, but Georgetown has seen an increase of early applicants from the South, especially from states such as Florida and Georgia. Georgetown also witnessed more applicants from public schools and independent private schools and a drop in those from Jesuit and Catholic schools.

ore students are also seeking financial aid this year.

The admissions committee is currently reading applications, and will release decisions by Dec. 15. Georgetown has a policy of accepting the same percentage of early applicants as they do during the regular admissions cycle, and will look to admit about 19 percent, or about 1,100 applicants, from the early pool.

Early applications for the Class of 2015 have now risen by about 8.6 percent from last year, and will continue toward a 9 percent increase by the final tally, according to Deacon.

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