For the second year in a row, Early Decision I applications to Washington and Lee University reached a new high, increasing by 5 percent over 2011.
W&L had 464 Early Decision I (EDI) applications and accepted 192 students for the Class of 2017. That compares with 443 EDI applications a year ago, when the University accepted 193 students.
"The overall numbers, as impressive as they are, tell only part of the story this year," said William Hartog, dean of admissions and financial aid at Washington and Lee. "This group of EDI admits is easily the most diverse, on every level, and among the most academically talented that we've ever had."
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, EDI, required prospective students to file applications by Nov. 15. W&L informed students of the decisions on Dec. 20.
The second Early Decision deadline is Jan. 2, 2013 — the same as the regular decision deadline. The University notifies students who apply for EDII on Feb. 1.
Washington and Lee hopes to enroll about 475 students in the Class of 2017, and the EDI admits represent about 40 percent of the class.
"Early Decision is not for everyone, but those students who are absolutely sure about their choice can get the application process behind them," said Hartog.
Almost 20 percent of the admitted students are American minorities, Pell Grant recipients or first-generation college students. Four percent are international students who come from six different countries, and 66 students, or 34 percent, are receiving $2.4 million in need-based financial aid. The students come from 36 states, led by Virginia with 29, followed by North Carolina (18), New Jersey (14), Maryland (11) and California (10).
The academic profile of the admitted students is as high as any EDI group, said Hartog. The SAT scores average 685 in critical reading, 683 in math and 684 in writing. The average ACT composite score is 31. Students who come from secondary schools that report a class rank were among the 92nd percentile of their respective classes.
The 464 Early Decision I applicants included 136 students who applied through Questbridge, a private foundation in Palo Alto, Calif., that works with 33 partner colleges and universities around the country in its College Match program for low-income, high-achieving students. Fourteen of those Questbridge applicants have been admitted as part of W&L's Class of 2017.
"This is our fourth year with the Questbridge program, and we are most pleased with the results," said Hartog. "Once again this year, we have received extremely strong applications from students around the country."
All of the Early Decision students represent an important nucleus of any entering class, said Hartog, "because these students bring a special spirit to the campus. Some of them have been pointing toward Washington and Lee for many years, and we are excited to welcome them."