Georgetown does not plan to alter its recruiting efforts, despite relative stagnancy in its admissions statistics over the last year and mounting selectivity and application numbers at peer universities nationwide.

Nineteen percent of applicants were accepted to the undergraduate Class of 2014, compared to 18.7 percent last year. In comparison, selectivity at other universities increased across the board, a result of a larger graduating high school class nationally, combined with active recruitment and changes to the application process.

In many cases, admit rates at peer universities decreased by 3 to 5 percent. The University of Chicago tightened its selectivity the most, narrowing its percentage admitted by 8.8 percent. The George Washington University was also among the schools with a falling admit rate, reporting a drop of about 5 percent. At Harvard University – the most selective this year – the acceptance rate sunk to 6.9 percent, a record low for the school.

Charles Deacon, dean of undergraduate admissions, said he was unconcerned by the stability in Georgetown’s numbers. He said many other colleges have sought to increase the number of applicants, which forces them to boost selectivity and thereby appear more competitive. Deacon said he has no plans to follow such a model at Georgetown.

“Unfortunately, there is an excessive marketing of colleges. We do not want more applicants. We don’t see the value of getting more applicants, as the applications we do receive all come from highly qualified students who are interested in Georgetown,” Deacon said.

Some admitted students for the Class of 2014 said that while they appreciated Georgetown’s policy, they could also see the appeal of a higher degree of selectivity.

“Georgetown already has a great reputation, so a smaller admission rate isn’t completely necessary, but it’s definitely an ego booster. They already are known as [being] `equal to an Ivy,’ but if they wanted to strive to a Harvard, Princeton or Yale level then they should try to recruit more,” said Jessica Lawson, a student at Gaither High School in Tampa, Fla., who plans to enroll in the School of Foreign Service’s Class of 2014.

Other accepted students maintained that a lower admissions rate would not add to Georgetown’s appeal.

“I think that Georgetown has a reputation of being an excellent school, so I don’t really think making it super competitive makes it any better,” said Sam Fox, who will attend the College in the fall after he graduates from Greater Latrobe Senior High in Latrobe, Pa. “I think there is a strong applicant pool, and I don’t really think it is a bad thing if it isn’t 30,000.”

According to Deacon, the fact that so many qualified applicants were turned down indicates there is no need to lower the admissions rate. If the acceptance rate ever swells above 20 percent, however, he said Georgetown plans to actively recruit more applicants.

Deans at peer universities said wide-ranging efforts to attract students could have contributed to jumps in their applicant pools, and the results were greater than they expected.

“We did more outreach through [the] College Board’s search program,” Janet Rapelye, Princeton University’s dean of admission, told The Daily Princetonian. “[Nevertheless] we were pleasantly surprised with what an amazing pool we had this year. We didn’t expect the pool to grow so much, but we had a really staggering volume of applications. This year’s class was large, deep, broad and strong.”

While higher recruiting levels may have drawn more applicants to increasingly selective universities this year, demographics have played a role as well. According to a report from the Center for Public Education published in January, acceptance rates were expected to decline because of the large number of students graduating from high school this year.

As both the number of applicants to Georgetown and the university’s selectivity stay relatively flat compared to national trends, the unique Georgetown application may be a contributing factor. Whereas applicants to other universities can fill out the Common Application and submit it to multiple schools simultaneously, they must take the time to complete a special application for Georgetown. Deacon said there were no plans to change this policy. Other universities have reported increased application numbers after adopting the Common Application, but according to Deacon, the current framework helps ensure all applicants are interested enough in the university to file a separate application.

Since Georgetown’s recruitment efforts are not targeted at receiving more total applications, Deacon would like to see more applications from lower-income and minority students. He cited the university’s pipelines to community-based programs like the Cristo Rey network, College Match and Upward Bound, which provide college guidance and recruiting for lower-income students.

Among newly accepted students, Latino and black students make up about 8 percent of the population each, and about 15 percent are Asian-American. Foreign nationals make up 10 percent. 54.5 percent of accepted students were white Americans.

The academic background of applicants’ parents also comes into play, according to Deacon.

“There is a priority of recruiting first-generation students; that is, students whose parents did not attend college. In fact, these are a small part of the applicant pool. Ninety percent of applicants had at least one of their parents complete a bachelor’s degree. This is true across the board for colleges of Georgetown’s caliber,” Deacon said.

Deacon added that Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Weekends are aimed at recruiting students from high-priority groups. The third of the GAAP weekends, Hoya Saxa Weekend, is specifically geared toward minority students. The university helps to fund students’ trips to Georgetown if aid is needed to cover travel costs, said Deacon.

GAAP weekends also aim to further the overall yield rate, according to Deacon. Of the prospective students that attend a GAAP weekend, 75 percent choose to attend Georgetown, compared to the overall yield, which is 45 percent. According to Deacon, the ideal yield goal is 50 percent, but he said shortcomings in the financial aid program prevent an increase in the yield rate.

Historically, the university has increased its tuition to provide funding for financial aid. This March, the university’s board of directors increased tuition by 3 percent for the 2010-2011 academic year, a hike that was accompanied by an 8 percent increase in the financial aid budget.

While financial aid offered does not seem to be a deterrent for students in accepting their offer from Georgetown, students did express concern at Georgetown’s hefty price tag.

“Paying for college will not be an easy task, and the university should find ways to give out more financial aid. Georgetown should offer more financial aid, as well as more work-study opportunities,” said Kimberly Yam, a senior at Saugerties High School in Saugerties, N.Y., who will attend the SFS next year. “If increasing tuition is the only way in which the university is able to offer more financial aid, then they should go through with it.”

According to Deacon, a recent study showed that one-fifth of students who got into their first-choice college elected not to go due to financial concerns.

Money matters may have also played a role in admissions in a much different way this year. Due in part to the economic climate and uncertain job market, fewer students applied to the McDonough School of Business because of worries over employment opportunities after graduation, according to Deacon.

Applications to the MSB decreased by 366 students, a 12.7 percent drop, according to statistics released by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Meanwhile, the College’s numbers continued to climb, netting an increase of almost 2,000 applicants since 2006. Deacon said that in this admissions cycle, many students who might have applied to the MSB opted to fill out an application to the College instead. The flexibility of the College makes it appealing to many potential business or economics students, according to Deacon, especially with the proposed business minor set to take effect once administrative details are finalized.

Application and admission rates to the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the School of Foreign Service remained largely the same as those in previous years.

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