Admissions Report is In: 4,500 freshmen applications predicted for this year

Kelly Dunbar gives a tour to a prospective student and her family. Based on admission rates, more high school students are interested in WC this year. Photo courtesy of Carol O'Shea.

By Lindsay Haislip

News Editor

With the 2011 application period soon drawing to an end, the admissions department at Washington College has been hard at work reviewing applications, and has had an opportunity to reflect on the applications it has received thus far.

According to Director of Admissions, Kevin Coveney, has also looked closely at the applicant pool thus far, and is able to see what trends are taking place for this year.

“In terms of the male-female ratio, there is not too much of a change”, said Coveney.  Applications so far this year are up 60 percent. “That is good news,” said Coveney.  As far as diversity on campus goes, last year, ethnicities made up 17 percent of the applicant pool.  This year they make up 25 percent.  “That’s a nice increase in the diversity of the applicant pool.  That’s significant,” said Coveney.

As far as where students are coming from, there is no significant change in the demographics of the applicant pool.  Also, applicants that are coming from public high schools remains in line with last years.

WC is, however, seeing a shift in the quality of the applicants that are applying to the college.

“When you look at applicants who are members of the National Honor Society, or the Maryland Distinguished Scholars, the percentages are down, but the absolute numbers are up,” said Coveney.  “There are only so many every year. It’s not like God’s making more,” he said.  “The fact that our number of them is up is a good thing.”

The percentage of National Honor Society students increased last year, so it is expected to go up again this year as well.  Once all is said and done, the college expects the final total of freshmen applications to be about 4500 this year, “so we’re not quite half way there”, said Coveney. “I think all of this indicates that the popularity of WC is increasing, and every year students settle in over schools that have the reputation of being a ‘hot school’ at the moment. I think we’re seeing some of that buzz, if you will,” Coveney said. This year, the school is committed to admitting fewer students than they have in the past. This means that “it’s going to be more competitive to be admitted to the college in 2011,” he said. “What we expect to see is that the quality of the entering class, which was strong this year, will be even stronger next year.”

The open house at WC is a big factor in what pulls a lot of students to admit to the college. 275 families registered for the last open house, and 247 actually checked in and attended. “It was very successful,” said Coveney, “and we’re told again and again by the parents that compared to other open house programs that they go to, ours is far and away the best,” he said. At WC, students have the opportunity to choose from virtually anything they want in the curriculum, as well as athletics, admissions, financial aid, and internships. “Most colleges can’t do this, and the reason we can do it is because our faculty are extremely supportive. If we didn’t have their support behind us, we couldn’t hope to put on the kind of quality program that we have,” said Coveney. “The contact parents can have with faculty is what makes our open house so far and above other schools,” he said. Another factor drawing more students to WC is the new presi- dent, which has provided increased enthusiasm. “I think President Reiss is very visible on campus,” said Coveney. “He’s made himself extremely available to students and faculty, and I think his enthusiasm is becoming everyone’s enthusiasm,” he said.

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