Early Action applications up 50 percent over last year

CWRU students pour out of Ford AuditoriumCase Western Reserve continued to see surging interest among high school seniors this fall, attracting 50 percent more Early Action applications than in 2012.

The significant jump follows a record-setting year for overall applications—early and regular—for the class that entered this past August. It also maintains a trend of dramatic annual increases that began to accelerate in 2009.

In 2012-2013, the university received more than 18,000 applications, a total that marked growth of 150 percent over the past five years—and 25 percent over the previous year. This fall, 8,872 individuals applied Early Action, nearly 900 more than the grand total—early and regular admission—five years earlier.

What does this first set of figures mean for the grand total of applications for the Class of 2018? Director of Undergraduate Admissions Bob McCullough is offering no predictions. What he will say is that last year’s gains likely contributed substantially to this fall’s surge.

“First and foremost, more students are applying to CWRU because we’re a great university that has the kinds of characteristics many students look for,” McCullough explained. Plus, “more students had a good experience discovering Case Western Reserve last year, and word has spread that this is a really terrific university.”

In recent years, Case Western Reserve has seen major upticks in applications across all geographic and demographic categories. This fall’s Early Action applications reflected particular growth in applications from the West Coast and from underrepresented minority students.

The advances in the size of the applicant pool are mirrored by marked progress in the diversity, selectivity and academic qualifications of the entering classes. Those, in turn, benefit from improvements ranging from the launch of Uptown to construction of the Tinkham Veale University Center, which is scheduled to open at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year. High school students who visit campus—whose numbers also have expanded dramatically—see the developments firsthand and also hear from enthusiastic current students, McCullough explained.

“There is a lot of positive momentum on and around campus,” he said. “Prospective students and parents come away impressed by the direction we are headed, and they tell their friends.”

The university released early action admission decisions Saturday, Dec. 14. By that afternoon, several of those accepted began taking to social media to share the news. A few of the tweets:

  • “Today I was accepted to Case Western, my dream school! So much happiness!”
  • “Still can’t really believe I got accepted. I’M SO EXCITED TO START”
  • “So happy right now. Thanks @CWRUAdmission

Yet again, admitted students and their families took special note of the personalized message on the bottom of each of McCullough’s admissions letters. Said one: “It was fun learning about your photographic hobby and I hope you bring your Polaroid to CWRU.” And another: “I hope to see you on the field with the Marching Spartans next year.”

Case Western Reserve began including the custom “p.s.” messages in 2012 to convey to accepted students how much their unique qualities impressed the admissions team.

“By writing personalized notes,” McCullough said, “we’re letting them know how much we appreciate the time, energy and effort they put into applying to CWRU, while letting them know we approach the decision of whether to offer them admission with the same sense of commitment.”

The Class of 2018 had its first deposit Saturday night, and five more students have followed. Unlike Early Decision, Early Action does not bind accepted students to enroll here. Those accepted this week have until May 1 to submit deposits, just like those accepted this spring through the regular decision process.

The deadline for regular decision applications is Jan. 15. The Office of Undergraduate Admission will announce the overall application total later that month.