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Freshman Applications Soar to All-Time High

February 12, 2007

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Applications to enroll in next fall's freshman class at Northwestern University have soared to an all-time record.

A total of 21,839 high school students applied for the freshman class, expected to number about 2,025.

The record number represents an 18.5 percent increase over the previous record --18,385, set just a year ago for the class entering in the fall of 2006. The 2006 record of 18,385 applications had broken the previous record with a 13.3 percent increase over the 16,221 applications for the fall of 2005.

“An increase of more than 30 percent in only two years is phenomenal,” said Michael Mills, associate provost for undergraduate enrollment, “especially when prestigious institutions around the country are all seeking the brightest and most-qualified high school seniors in the country.”

Mills said some of the increased number of applications came from wider use of the Common Application. This year is the first year that Northwestern University is a member of The Common Application, a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions. It provides an admission application -- online and in print -- that students may submit to any of nearly 300 schools. Membership is limited to colleges and universities that evaluate students using a holistic selection process.

Some of the increase in applications also is attributable to prospective foreign students. Applications from international students for fall of 2007 hit 2,000, a 54 percent increase over the 1,300 applications for the fall of 2006.

Mills said Northwestern has increased its outreach to international students, expanding overseas trip by admission counselors. During the last year, Northwestern officials visited high schools in Southeast Asia and China.

This is the third year that prospective international students are eligible for financial aid in the form of need-based scholarships, according to Mills.

Mills also noted that recent trends are continuing in the number of students applying online and those seeking Early Decision on admission. Ninety percent of applications for fall of 2007 were made online, up 2 percent from a year ago. The number of Early Decision applications for next fall reached 1,303, an increase of 8 percent.

A total of 572 Early Decision applicants were admitted in December and will enroll in the fall. That is 8 percent more than the previous year.

Topics: University News, People