Early Decision I applications to Washington and Lee University increased by 20 percent this year, representing one of the highest totals in memory, according to statistics released this week by the University's Office of Admissions.
W&L has two Early Decision deadlines. Both programs are binding, which means that applicants who choose to apply under Early Decision agree to withdraw all other applications to other colleges and universities if accepted.
The first Early Decision deadline, known as EDI, required prospective students to file applications by Nov. 15. W&L informed students of the decisions starting last Friday, Dec. 16.
For the Class of 2016, W&L had 443 ED1 applications and accepted 193 students. That compares with 372 ED1 applications a year ago, when the University accepted 173 students.
The second Early Decision deadline is Jan. 2, 2012 — the same as the regular decision deadline. The University notifies students who apply for EDII on Feb. 1.
"We are delighted with this response to Early Decision I," said William Hartog, dean of admissions and financial aid at W&L. "It certainly represents a good start on the admissions year and attests to the University's increasing popularity."
Hartog said that the Early Decision admits represent "a nucleus of young people who really want to be at W&L and will have a stake in the place. We have been participating in Early Decision for many years and watched the trend grow nationally. It is clearly not for every student, but it does offer them a chance to get the application behind them if they are absolutely sure of their choice."
The target for the number of students in W&L's entering Class of 2016 is 475, so the EDI admits represent about 41 percent of the class.
In addition, Hartog noted that the academic quality of this year's EDI admits is slightly higher than a year ago. He also said that the diversity is particularly strong, with 30 American minorities among the students, who come from 26 states and seven countries.
"It's particularly gratifying to see the international diversity, since this is, in many ways, a microcosm of what the entire Class of 2016 will be," Hartog said.
Of the students coming from abroad, two are from Argentina and two are from Vietnam, and there is one student each from Nigeria, Costa Rica, Bulgaria and Mongolia.
Included among the 443 Early Decision I applicants are 121 students who applied through Questbridge, a private foundation in Palo Alto, Calif., that works with 31 partner colleges and universities around the country in its College Match program for low-income, high-achieving students. Sixteen of those Questbridge applicants have been admitted as part of W&L's Class of 2016.
"We continue to be very pleased with the relationship that we have had with Questbridge for the past three years," said Hartog. "We continue to receive very strong applications from students who will be outstanding members of the W&L community when they arrive."
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs