George Washington Admits Early Decision Applicants for Class of 2018

Senior Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Laurie Koehler discusses the Early Decision applicant pool.

Kogan Plaza
March 05, 2014

For some students, choosing the right college is a stressful decision—for others, it’s a no brainer. This past fall, more than 1,000 students submitted applications to the George Washington University through the Early Decision program. Senior Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Laurie Koehler sat down with George Washington Today to discuss this year’s talented pool of Early Decision applicants.

Q: What is the Early Decision admission plan?

A: Early Decision (ED) is a nationally recognized admission plan designed for students who have a clear top choice school. These students are so sure of their “best fit” institution that they sign a contract indicating that should they be admitted through ED, they will definitely enroll there and will also withdraw all other applications to other colleges. At GW, students had two deadlines to apply for ED admission—one in November and one in January. Students who come to the university through ED are passionate about GW and bring great energy and enthusiasm to their time here.

Q: What events are planned for admitted Early Decision students?

A: Early Decision admits will be invited to participate in an virtual event, hosted by the Office of Admissions, before the Atlantic 10 tournament on March 10, featuring Colonial Army traditions, game-day fan culture, player videos, the fight song and the chance to win a foam tri-cornered hat. Finally, a number of the students admitted early decision will be invited to participate in some of our special academic programs such as the Honors program, Politics and Values, the Dean's Scholars in Shakespeare program and the Scholars in Quantitative and Natural Sciences program.

Q: How many Early Decision applicants were admitted to GW for fall 2014?

A: We received a total of 1,107 Early Decision applications and admitted 712 students, which is an admissions rate of 64 percent. Comparatively, last year GW received 2,157 ED applications and admitted 960 students—a 45 percent admissions rate. We were expecting to see a drop in applications from 2013 to 2014, given the changes to both the GW application process and the Common Application system. GW joined nearly 200 other institutions in adopting the exclusive use of the Common Application this past fall. Subsequently, this year the Common Application released its fourth generation online application system, making the application process more rigorous for prospective students. A higher percentage of Common Application member institutions throughout the country saw a decrease in application numbers this year than last.

Q: What can you tell us about our admitted Early Decision students?

A: Though we have a smaller pool, the quality of admitted students is higher than in years past. For example, the middle 50 percent of SAT scores for students who enrolled last year through Early Decision ranged from 1170 to 1310, while this year’s middle 50 percent for admitted ED students rose to 1190 to 1320. Though test scores are only one indicator, we are quite pleased with the quality of the students admitted through our binding ED plan.

This is a great reminder that rather than measuring a class by how many students a university denies, it is better to do so by examining the quality of the students it enrolls. The ED admitted students represent 41 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In addition, nine percent are international students. We are excited to have such a strong pool of future Colonials who already know that they are fully committed to GW.

Q: How will the smaller pool of Early Decision applicants affect the admission rate of Regular Decision applicants?

A: With a smaller Early Decision admitted applicant pool, we will need to admit a greater number of students through the Regular Decision (RD) process in order to reach our enrollment target. We anticipate that the overall yield—the percentage of admitted students who enroll at GW—for the Class of 2018 will drop, and that the overall acceptance rate will be markedly higher than in years past but will still be competitive with our peers. 

Improving the quality of our already strong student body is a multi-year process that will require a series of baby steps. But again, I want to emphasize that selectivity does not necessarily equal quality. We are thrilled with the quality of the ED students as well as the RD applicant pool, and we are confident that we will enroll an academically strong, talented, and diverse class of students who are a great fit for GW.