Applications still up, but trend slows

After three consecutive years of large increases, Northwestern expects a much smaller jump in applicants for the 2009-10 academic year, University Provost Daniel Linzer said Monday.

Although the university has experienced a 54 percent spike in applications over the past three years, this year’s pool is only expected to be 3 percent to 4 percent higher than last year’s total of 25,013 applicants.

“The last three years have been phenomenal jumps,” Linzer said. “It’s hard to keep up with that.”

The Office of Undergraduate Admission reported that 25,385 students had applied as of Jan. 20, a 2 percent increase over last year, said Michael Mills, associate provost for university enrollment, in a press release issued Monday. Though the admissions deadline has passed, officials are still processing applications.

Although total numbers have not seen a drastic increase since last year, there has been a significant hike in applications from minority groups, with African-American and Latino students increasing by 22 and 50 percent, respectively. Additionally, Asian-American applications are up 10 percent, while international applications are up 4.8 percent. Applications from white students are down 5 percent.

Applications from students in the Chicago Public Schools system have also risen, up 33 percent since last year. This may be due to the university’s decision to waive the application fee for these students after just 87 black freshmen matriculated at NU last spring. The university has also taken steps to boost activity within the Council of Latino Admission Volunteers for Education and NU Ambassadors, a recruitment organization focused on attracting black students.

Mills said Early Decision applications increased 13 percent this year to 1,569, not including an additional 100 students who initially applied for Early Decision but changed their application to the Regular Decision pool.

Linzer said there is no specific reason for why increases in applications are greater or smaller at different times.

“We can point to things we suspect to be the reason,” he said, adding that he believes it is simply a product of “mass psychology.”

Although the rate of increase in freshman applications is lower than the previous three years, Mills said the university is “very satisfied” with the current applicant pool.

“We view this year’s limited growth as a major accomplishment, given the state of the economy,” he said.

Ali Elkin contributed reporting

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