George Washington Admits Record Number of Early Decision Applicants

President Steven Knapp, along with Provost Steven Lerman, surprised some of the newly admitted students with a phone call last week.
GW President Steven Knapp, right, and Provost Steven Lerman call students last week to congratulate them on their early acceptance to the university.
December 17, 2012

Some of the newest Colonials got a surprise last Thursday night when they picked up the phone and George Washington University President Steven Knapp was on the line.

“I’m president of the George Washington University,” Dr. Knapp told the first student, who had gotten word of the acceptance just 24 hours earlier. “And I’m calling to tell you that you’ve been admitted to the School of Engineering and Applied Science. What do you think about that?”

Soon, Dr. Knapp had launched into a discussion with the student about the new Science and Engineering Hall. He even dished out some advice about connecting with faculty and exploring different areas in what he called an “exciting field” that can help address many of society’s greatest problems. “Make sure you come say hello to me when you get here,” he finished.

On Thursday, more than 600 Early Decision 1 applicants received similar calls congratulating them on their acceptance to GW—albeit from a fellow Colonial student or staff member instead of the president. The students make up the largest group of early decision applicants the university has ever accepted. They were chosen out of a pool of more than 1,500 applicants and represent 43 states and 11 countries.

The Early Decision program is binding and, if admitted, students commit to attend GW and withdraw all other college applications. GW has two rounds of early decision; the second round’s deadline is Jan. 10, 2013.

This was the first time in many years the calling program—meant to congratulate, guide students through their next steps and answer any questions they may have—took place. Provost Steven Lerman; Peter Konwerski, senior associate provost and dean of student affairs; and Forrest Maltzman, senior vice provost for academic affairs, joined Dr. Knapp in calling students.

“This is the heart of what we do,” Dr. Knapp said. “It’s bringing in a strong class of students that are going to be part of our community—not just now but for the rest of their lives.”

Dr. Lerman added that students, along with faculty, are the two key drivers of a great university.

“As pleased as they are to be admitted, we’re as pleased to have admitted them,” Dr. Lerman said.

Among those called last week were the grand nephew of President Harry S. Truman (also an M.V.P. rugby player), a young woman who received the recognition of Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen and a student who created a program that covers graffiti with murals.

“The way this institution becomes better and better every year is really by the people that we bring in every year,” Dr. Maltzman said. “The fact that so many people were interested in coming here, making us their only decision, is a testament to what we do at the university.”

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