Northwestern Early Decision applications increase 12 percent this year

Dan Waldman, Reporter

Northwestern received its most Early Decision applications ever this year. Prospective students submitted 3,022 Early Decision applications to the University as of the Nov. 1 deadline — an increase of about 12 percent over Early Decision applications last year.

The University’s current record for Early Decision applications came two years ago, receiving 2,863. Michael Mills, the associate provost for University enrollment, said the number of early applications this year is not finalized, but he is expecting a significant increase over last year’s numbers.

“It’s frustrating because it’s a moving target,” Mills said. “Some kids will email us saying they’ve change their minds, and ask to be switched to Regular Decision. Also the QuestBridge apps follow a different process so the number won’t be the final, but it will be pretty close.”

Mills said he cannot pinpoint a direct cause for the increase in applications, but the University did make adjustments to the way it publicized to prospective students — including changing the routes of campus tours to showcase areas of the school that were too far from the Office of Undergraduate Admission, 1801 Hinman Ave., to show previous applicants.

“My own sense is that I think we have done a very good job this year of presenting Northwestern,” Mills said. “Through the new visitor’s center, the tweaks we’ve made to the campus tours, through our print publications and I think that our messaging is very good this year.”

Regular Decision applications are not due until Jan. 1, but the University is already expecting a drastic increase in the number of Regular Decision applications from last year.

Mills said based on the data he has received from the Common Application, the number of applications that Northwestern receives could be as many as 3,000 more than last year.

“Regular Decision at this point is looking huge,” he said. “Last year we finished with like 32,000 in change applications and about 30,000 were regular. We could have 31,000 to 32,000 this year — which would take us to about 35,000 overall.”

With the increase in the number of applications, Mills said he is still expecting similar acceptance rates for Early Decision candidates as last year. He said he thinks the school will take about 45 to 50 percent of its freshman class from the Early Decision pool.

Mills said Early Decision application decisions should be released no later than Dec. 15. But given the expected increase in Regular Decision applications, he is expecting an acceptance rate that is lower than the school’s current accept rate of about 13 percent.

“If all these scenarios come true,” Mills said. “That we end up with 35,000 applications, and take 45 to 50 percent of our class via Early Decision and if we yield like we did last year in Regular Decision, then we could have an acceptance rate of probably about 11.”

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