UW admissions more competitive

In addition to the excitement of beginning college, the UW's freshmen class of 2007 will have one more reason to celebrate this fall quarter. The group is the most exclusive in gaining admission to the UW in years.

UW Admissions, by the numbers

17,719|Students applied

62|Percent of appicants accepted

3.75|Average GPA among accepted students

1251|Average SAT score for those accepted

5,300|Freshman class target

11,000|acceptance letters were sent

Of the 17,719 that applied, only 62 percent were accepted. Those admitted had a grade point average of 3.75 and scored about 1,251 on math and critical reading standardized tests. Last year, the admit pool had a 3.69 GPA and an average 1,231 SAT score.

Ivy League schools like Princeton University usually accept less than 10 percent of their applicants. Even private state colleges are narrowing their pool of incoming freshmen. Seattle University is admitting 72 percent of high school seniors who applied this year — opposed to 91 percent a decade ago.

Many institutions are scrambling to make space for the growing numbers of talented freshmen, but most find themselves with a lack of space.

UW Director of Admissions Philip Ballinger said the University was unable to accept "a lot of really good students."

The UW is targeting a freshmen class of 5,300, but this year's freshman class stands at 5,438.

Erin Shields, ASUW director of faculty, administration and academic affairs, said she understands the admissions process is competitive. However, she said she believes the holistic nature of the UW's admissions process is beneficial for all students. The University's approach takes into account students' test scores, grades, extracurricular activities and socio-economic status.

"I hope that as time goes on more and more people will begin to recognize the UW as the world-class institution that it is," Shields said. "I believe that our student body will be the better for it."

ASUW Vice President Jerome McCuin agreed.

"Ultimately, making admissions more competitivehelps maintain the value of our UW degree," McCuin said. "That is something that we remain invested in even after we graduate. Returning studentsand recent graduates should appreciate the more stringent requirements."

McCuin was a mentor in the UW Leaders program in which he worked face-to-face with first-year freshmen.

"I remember college admission time to beparticularlystressful, so I am empathetic," McCuin said."Still,everyone enrolledat UW has gone through a process of some sort. As current students, we should be prepared for the challenge that the incoming freshmen can bring us in the classroom."

The UW is considered a "public ivy" school — a term coined by author Richard Moll. Moll said public ivy is an institution, which "provides an Ivy League collegiate experience at a public school price."

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education describes public ivies as universities that compete with Ivy League schools in academics, while "attracting superstar faculty and competing for the best and brightest students of all races."

Shields encouraged prospective students to pay attention to the holistic review when applying for admission.

"You have an opportunity to share who you are beyond your GPA and SAT score," Shields said. "Take advantage of the opportunity to share your personality and help the admissions committee understand why a college education means so much to you."

While McCuin remains optimistic about the UW's admission process, he is concerned about minority enrollment. McCuin said he believes standardized tests affect minority admissions, while GPAs alone fail to tellthe complete story of a student's endeavors.

"That is why we have the holistic admissions process," McCuin said."The truth is, not all high schools are created equal. Some schools do not offer the same opportunities, such as AP classes. The challenge extendsbeyond simple recruitment based on ethnicity or nationality. Students who attend schools in underserved areas should have the admission decision made based on what resources were available to them, not by how they look on paper compared to a student who attended amore privilegedschool."

The UW sent acceptance letters to 11,000 students this spring. Students have until May 1 to accept or deny the offer of admission to the UW.

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