Despite Common App glitches, Northwestern early decision apps up 14 percent

Tyler Pager, Reporter

Despite issues with the Common Application, early decision applications to Northwestern for the class of 2018 increased about 14 percent from last year.

While the number may change in the next few days, Christopher Watson, dean of undergraduate admissions, said his office has received 2,794 applications compared to 2,450 last year. Early admissions decisions will be released by Dec. 15.

“(Northwestern) certainly continues to be a popular school both nationally and internationally,” Watson said. “We’re seeing that this trend is continuing, and more and more students beyond the Midwest are looking at Northwestern as a destination more than ever before.”

Watson added that NU’s increased presence in the news has also played a role.

“We certainly are a more visible university,” he said. “The president travels quite a bit, and a lot of what happens on campus makes national news. The admission office tries to do its fair share of travel as well.”

Watson said about 40 percent of the class of 2018 will be filled by early decision applicants.

Michael Goran, director of Los Angeles-based IvySelect College Counseling, agreed NU has gained more recognition over the years with students both nationally and internationally.

“It’s certainly moved far beyond the regional base that perhaps it once held to being a true national and international university,” he said. “That familiarity certainly has contributed to its rise in applications.”

Sookie Kwak, a senior at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood, Wash., sent in an early decision application to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

“I really liked the environment, and I just fell in love with the school,” she said of her visit to Evanston. “I talked to some of the students, and I connected with them. During the tour, I was like, ‘I could imagine myself going here.'”

This year, NU extended its early decision deadline by seven days due to technical difficulties with the Common App. The site for the application, which is used by more than 500 colleges and universities, underwent a complete restructuring for the 2013-2014 admissions cycle.

Kwak said although the site sometimes crashed while she was using it, she never lost any information from her application. Some of her friends, however, had issues, with aspects of their applications getting deleted.

“The fact that there were issues made me nervous,” she said. “I think one of my teachers had issues with it, and I know of one person who was really close to not sending their app because their counselor had some issues.”

Watson said universities, including NU, may look into other application systems for the future as a result of the glitches.

“It’s something we always think about,” Watson said about looking into other options. “It’s probably something we will look into, but I have no idea what we will do.”

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