Thousands submit early college admissions applications

Becky Reeves

September 02, 2010

Nearly 3,000 students have already submitted applications for the GW Class of 2015, echoing a nationwide trend of increasingly early submissions for students eager to get a leg up in the exceedingly competitive college admissions cycle, a senior administrator in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions confirmed last week.

GW’s Early Decision application is still two months off, but some students submitted applications within hours of the Common Application’s 2010-2011 launch on Aug. 1, Executive Dean for Undergraduate Admissions Kathryn Napper said. She added, however, that many of the applicants have yet to send in the supplementary materials required by the admissions process. Applicants to GW have until Nov. 2 to apply Early Decision I and until Jan. 10 to apply for Early Decision II and regular decision.

“I know we have received at least 2,500, maybe around 3,000,” said Napper. “Almost every single one of the applications that have been submitted are not completed. They still need to submit transcripts and supplements before their application is complete.”

According to a recent report in The New York Times, more students are submitting their applications earlier than in years past, a trend that alarms university officials and college admissions counselors across the country.

Boston University spokesman Colin Riley could not provide the current number of applications received from prospective students for their Class of 2015, but said his university encourages students to spend time on their applications and apply according to application deadlines, not the online release date of the application.

“We want them to submit [applications] by the deadline because submitting them early is not critical,” Riley said. “It doesn’t make a difference in how they’re reviewed.”

Bev Taylor, director and founder of Ivy Coach – a New York-based college admissions consulting service – said that she discourages students from submitting their applications unnecessarily early, for fear of a change of heart.

“I like to encourage students to apply as close to the deadline as possible,” Taylor said. “If for any reason they change their mind, it can be undone.”

Taylor attributed the sense of urgency felt by students to several possible factors.

“Parents are pushing it, thinking that maybe admissions will give their son or daughter’s application more value,” said Taylor. “Another reason is that students want to go back to school and be able to tell their peers that they’ve already submitted their applications.”

High school senior Robert Hirsch, who created the Facebook group “The George Washington University Class of 2015” in early August, said he plans to send his application to GW this September. Hirsch said he created the group to gain notoriety with his potential future classmates.

“I created the [group] to pursue my goal of being well known, famous, and popular,” Hirsch said, in a message. “Being the [Facebook group] administrator will expose my name to every student that joins the group, subsequently familiarizing them with my name, therefore increasing the bounds of my reputation.” Despite the large number of applications already submitted to the University, Napper noted that applications that arrive early will not be looked at any sooner than those who wait to send it in closer to the deadline. “We will not start looking at any of the applications for Early Decision until the majority of them have arrived, and are all completed, which will be around the beginning of November,” Napper said.