Last week, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions released an Admissions Update for Donors, sourced from the Georgetown profile for the class of 2017. Of the 19,885 applications submitted, Georgetown accepted 17 percent.
The report presents some interesting numbers highlighting Georgetown’s diversity. This year, 8 percent of the class of 2017 identify as Hispanic, 13 percent identify as Asian-American, 9 percent identify as African-American (look out, Howard), and 8 percent have an international background. According to Vox’s calculations (this figure did not appear on the Admissions Update) that means roughly 62 percent of the student body identifies as white and American.
33 percent of the class of 2017 hail from the Mid-Atlantic region, and 13 percent come from New England alone, the same number that comes from the South East and the entirety of the West Coast. So if you have yet to meet a person from Wyoming on campus, don’t worry, Vox hasn’t either.. Anyone up for a trip to South Jersey?
The profile also includes other tidbits donors were dying to know about the most recent additions to Georgetown’s community of scholarship. Did you know that in high school, one hundred and seven of your classmates were class president? What’s even more interesting, however, is that all one hundred and seven believe that they will one day be president of the United States. 105 people in the freshman class participated in Model U.N., 233 were drama geeks, and 136 were editors of their school paper.
Clearly, it’s stats like these that keep the donors coming back for more.
On Monday, George Washington University student newspaper GW Hatchetreported that GW has misled its applicants for years about its true admissions and financial aid policy. The school claimed to be need-blind but was actually placing students who could not afford GW’s tuition on the waitlist. (And they think Georgetown is elitist.)
GW’s new Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Laurie Koehler admitted that the unknown policy was affecting upwards of 10 percent of GW’s 22,000 yearly applicants. Students who qualified for admission after the first round of application reading could be shifted from accepted to waitlisted, unless they were an outstanding applicant.
During the second round of application readings, GW took its budget balance into consideration when deciding which students would get in off the waitlist. Wealthy students were accepted while students who needed more financial aid were not.
According to the Hatchet, “as recently as Saturday, admissions representatives told prospective students in an information session that their applications would be judged without glancing at their financial aid profiles.” That policy has now been clarified to a “need-aware” view of applicants, and GW’s website has now been updated to reflect the change.
Former Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions Zakaree Harris claims that he and his colleagues were unaware that senior admissions officials were basing admissions decisions off of applicants’ financial need. “Our policies, and even information that we were giving to families, were always about being need-blind in our process,” Harris said, according to the Hatchet. “I do not recall and do not remember ever having a conversation about the specific nature of someone needing X amount of dollars and us making an admissions decision based upon that.”
Many current Georgetown students who haven’t repressed their memories of the college admissions process likely remember being frustrated to some degree by the number of colleges – including Georgetown – that refused to accept the Common Application.
Over the past several years, however, schools such as Brown, UChicago, UVA, Michigan and Columbia have joined the growing number of schools bowing to the pressure to give up signature applications in favor of the universal online application. With USC and Howard joining the pool of Common App schools, the Washington Post‘s Daniel de Vise reports that Georgetown is now the last top tier university refusing to accept the app (de Vise’s headline isn’t technically accurate, since MIT also insists on its own application.) According to Post, USC adopted the application after feedback from college counselors, noting that the Common App can make it easier for disadvantaged students to apply to schools.
However, Georgetown’s dean of admissions Charles Deacon has long been an opponent of the Common App, having previously stated that the App tends to encourage students to spam schools with applications and that the schools are being forced to change their process to keep their application numbers up with other top colleges. The Office of Admissions could not be reached for comment.
In an interview, Deacon argued that forcing schools to adhere to a common application diminishes the personal nature of college selection.
“We do feel that [the Common App] makes applying too easy, too homogenized, and not personalized at all,” Deacon said. “[...] In the end, students are being asked to differentiate and yet the process homogenizes them.” Read the rest of this entry »
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin told the New York Times that he had the idea to let students supplement their admissions essays with videos when he was watching a particularly good YouTube video.
“I thought, ‘If this kid applied to Tufts, I’d admit him in a minute, without anything else,’ ” he said.
Tufts put the word out that applicants could include a one-minute video that “says something about you” (in addition to their answers to some rather outre admissions questions, like, “Are we alone?” and “Create something out of a piece of paper”), and now, over 1,000 out of the 15,000 applicants to Tufts have included videos.
Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Services Robert Chernak told the GW Hatchet that the mistake was the result of a clerical error made when Admissions decided to e-mail instead of mail the packets.
“Executive Dean of Undergraduate Admissions [Kathy Napper] felt that it would be a good idea to send an e-mail to those people who were accepted, that was the theory, for Early Decision II,” he said. “As those instructions went down the chain of command in the admissions office to the operational level, the individual who sent out the e-mail… touched the wrong button on the list.”
“This afternoon, you received an email from me titled ‘Important GW Information.’ Unfortunately, this email was sent to you in error,” the Office of Undergraduate Admissions wrote in apology, “We are truly sorry for this confusion regarding your application to GW.”
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is investigating whether colleges are giving men—who are making up a smaller and smaller portion of the higher education population across the nation—a leg up over women in their admissions processes, or giving them more generous aid packages to try to encourage them to attend in higher numbers.
According to the Washington Post, on Wednesday, federal civil rights commissioners voted to subpoena records from 19 Washington-area schools for their investigation—and that includes Georgetown University.
The school is not being fingered as a perpetrator of admissions discrimination. Rather, the commissioners are selecting colleges that will give them a “representative example of higher education nationally.”
Vox has been trying to get numbers on Georgetown’s admissions rates by gender for the last week or so, ever since it saw this opinion piece in USA Today, “Why men warrant a break on college admissions“—take a gander and let us know if you think that failing to give preferential treatment to men “would threaten the diversity that defines our world-class higher education system.”
We’ve been unsuccessful in getting those numbers so far, but we’ll post them when we get a hold of them.
Photo from Flickr user CarbonNYC under a creative commons license
The perfect Post columnist to have love-hate relationship with
There’s some good news and some bad news for Georgetown in Jay Mathews’ recent Washington Post column. The good news: He thinks Georgetown qualifies as an “elite” university! The bad news: He doesn’t think going to an “elite” university is important in the slightest.
Mathews’ Monday article urges students to focus on their experiences in their respective colleges and not get caught up in the name or prestige.
The article cites examples of “heroes” who did and didn’t attend prestigious, brand-name schools to argue why the college doesn’t determine one’s success in life. Billionaire businessman Warren Buffett, for example, attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln; Oprah went to Tennessee State; and singer Bette Midler spent her college years at the University of Hawaii (I, for one, cannot imagine Bette Midler throwing a shaka sign).
No one is sure where greatness comes from. These lists make clear that it does not have much to do with the name of the college on someone’s diploma …
Researchers Stacy Berg Dale and Alan Krueger found that admirable character traits—persistence, imagination, energy—produce success in life no matter which college a person attends.
While it’s depressing how quickly Mathews dismisses Georgetown’s hard-fought elite status, it does makes us feel better to know that the annoyingly knowledgeable kid in Econ isn’t necessarily the next Wall Street tycoon—or at least one can hope.