Friday, February 1, 2008

Early Decision Numbers Drop, Admissions Dean Blames Tuition. Duh!

The number of early decision applicants is down this year, big shocker!

“I would suspect, given the current economic climate, that these students are taking a more conservative approach by applying regular decision,” said Kathryn Napper, executive dean of admissions.

When I applied to colleges in 2004, one of the schools I considered was the University of Miami. It was number 66 on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s Best Colleges, while GW was number 51. On the 2008 list, Miami jumped up to 52, while GW dropped to 54. Why? Doesn’t GW see the problem? It’s outrageously expensive, with its best features hidden inside the walls of ugly buildings like Gelman and Funger.

I work in the Admissions Office and I’m a tour guide. While I do see several students generally excited about the prospect of attending our prestigious university, what sticks with me sometimes are the looks of disappointment on parents’ faces when they see the inside of Thurston, or the crappy looking department buildings on G Street. They have to be thinking, “This is the most expensive university in the nation? I don’t get it.”

Why would students want to commit in a binding contract to attending an expensive school, whose façade doesn’t measure up to the less expensive schools. While cost is an issue that we all know needs to be addressed, the university also needs to speed up work on the 20-year-plan and campus beautification plan. A nice big tree goes along way with some people and clearly, we need all the help we can get to convince prospective students to even apply here.

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