Total applications to Emory University’s undergraduate programs have hit an all-time high this year, surpassing 20,000 applications for the Class of 2019, according to a Jan. 29 University press release.
Compared with last year, applications to Emory College of Arts and Sciences increased 15 percent to 20,477 and applications to Oxford College increased 30 percent to 9,653. In 2015, Emory College plans to enroll 1,350 students, and Oxford College plans to enroll 490.
Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment and Dean of Admissions John Latting wrote in an email to the Wheel that the admissions numbers this year surprised him, noting that a 15 percent change in applications is unusual at any university.
“Assuming no big differences in the mechanism of applying (e.g. a college’s moving to the Common Application) change upward or downward in application volume is typically gradual,” he wrote. “[At] Emory the only significant change to the [application] process this year was moving the Regular Decision deadline earlier by two weeks (from Jan. 15 to Jan. 1) — which we feared could, if anything, depress applications.”
There was also an increase in for Early Decision I (ED I) and Early Decision II (ED II) applications, where students are obliged to go to Emory once accepted (ED II indicates applicants apply at a later date than ED I). Emory College received 1,253 ED I applications for the Class of 2019, up 9.6 percent from last year, and admitted 478. Emory College received 1,244 ED II applications and Oxford College received 639 ED II applications, a record applicant pool for the ED II admission plan for both colleges.
These numbers indicate that a higher number of applicants chose Emory as their first choice university this year.
Despite being surprised by the significant increase in application numbers, Latting had a few theories on why application numbers increased. Latting wrote that the increase probably had to do with a combination of the actions of the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Emory in general and of broad economic forces that go beyond the University.
“When all those things move in the same direction, it is apparently possible to have a large change in the size of the applicant pool,” Latting wrote. “To be more specific, we are working hard here in Admission to connect with talented and motivated students all over America and the world.”
He added that the extensive media coverage for the impressive activity at Emory, including treatment of patients infected with the Ebola virus, may have also helped.
He also cited the strengthening of the U.S. economy as another possible factor in the increase in applications.
“We should remember, too, that the economy continues to strengthen, and that investment in a high quality college education is very important to students and their families,” Latting wrote. “And Emory’s type of institution — the private, global, selective, American research university — seems to be the most sought after model in the world.”
Latting added that although the large number of applications this year won’t change the qualities Emory looks for in applicants, the number will change the percentage of applicants who are offered a place at Emory.
“The admit rate will fall this year,” Latting wrote.
Several students interviewed indicated Emory was their second choice, but asked not to be identified in order to not affect their applications.
In response to this, Latting wrote that admission decisions are not at all affected by where Emory stacks up in the preference of universities for students when they apply.
“We admit the students who would most benefit from and contribute to Emory, and then work hard to make Emory the first choice of everyone admitted through extensive recruiting activities in April,” Latting wrote.
Subhash Gutti, a regular decision applicant from Eastern Kentucky, wrote in an email to the Wheel that as an aspiring pre-med student, he was drawn to Emory’s educational standards and the opportunities offered by Emory.
“Emory is a solid pick for its quality of education, the Emory “brand name” and especially the abundance of career opportunities it has to offer its undergraduates,” Gutti wrote. “This becomes especially important, as you’ll need something to set you apart from the gazillion other grad school applicants identical to you. With numerous credited hospitals, facilities and other job opportunities in close proximity to campus or within the Atlanta region, you’re bound to find something to give you that leg up in the competition.”
Gutti also wrote that Emory’s location in Atlanta is a huge attraction for many applicants interested in Emory.
“A bustling urban environment with music, entertainment and a diversity of night scenes is something essential to break the monotony of scholastic curriculum,” he wrote.
XinNi Chai, a regular decision applicant from California, also wrote in an email to the Wheel that Emory was her first choice.
“What really struck me [about Emory] was how these students seemed happy in general,” Chai wrote about her decision to apply for Emory. “When I entered the dining hall, I did not see a single person eating by themselves. Emory seemed like a large university but also extremely strong on being a small knit community … I also liked the aspect of how Emory did not offer a typical liberal arts education, and that it gave opportunities for research when you are an undergraduate student.”
Another applicant from Warner Robins, Georgia, Sara Abdulla, wrote that she was initially drawn to Emory because of the, “city locale, strong liberal arts program and multiple research centers.”
Abdulla found that the more she looked into Emory the more she liked it, citing reasons like “Salman Rushdie and the Creative Writing Program, the close relationship with Georgia Tech and then the gorgeous campus.”
Emory is Abdulla’s first choice, she wrote.
— By Annie McGrew, Asst. News Editor