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College Enrolls Strong Class of 2019
CHESTERTOWN, MD—As the college admissions cycle for the Class of 2019 comes to a close across the country, Washington College can report a diverse and academically strong class of approximately 410 students bound for the Chestertown campus in the fall.
The most dramatic change from recent years is the number of out-of-state students—the most in Washington College history. Sixty percent of the incoming class hails from outside Maryland, with significant increases in students from the South and West Coast. Vice President for Enrollment Management Satyajit Dattagupta says there are committed students from 28 states, including California, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Georgia and South Dakota.
Students of color and international students represent 23 percent of the incoming class. Although more are expected to complete their enrollment over the summer, there are now 30 international students in the class, hailing from nations that include China, India, Norway, Japan, Taiwan and Ghana.
Dattagupta says the average GPA for the entire class of incoming first-years is 3.7, up from 3.56 in the past two years. Also up is the number of students who will be Presidential Fellows, a group of high-achieving scholars invited to join their peers for social and academic enrichment such as field trips, receptions with visiting guest speakers, and dinners at the College president’s home. This year, 130 Presidential Fellows enrolled.
In a very challenging admissions climate—with the number of high-school juniors and seniors in the Mid-Atlantic area declining, and many family incomes still recovering from the financial crisis and recession—Dattagupta is proud of how well he and his staff were able to meet their admissions goals. In the process they saw the number of applications and campus visits rise dramatically. Applications numbered 4,645 in 2013, totaled 5,205 in 2014, and this spring reached 6,024. As a result, the percentage of accepted students fell from 66 percent of all applicants in 2013 and 58 percent last year to 51 percent this admissions cycle.
Dattagupta says the College’s strategy has included adding regional directors for previously underserved areas of the country. Betsey Fuller Hayes was hired as Western Regional Director to represent Washington College on the West Coast and in several western states. Hannah Wheeler was named Southern Regional Director to increase the College’s presence in the South, from Florida to Tennessee, and up through the Carolinas. To increase service to prospective students in a city that already has strong connections to the College, Katie McEnroe was named Baltimore Area Regional Director.
“We have a good story to tell about the Washington College experience, and we are doing a good job telling it,” says Dattagupta. “The word is getting out beyond the Mid-Atlantic region about our value and the personalized education we provide. I believe we have one of the finest admissions, financial aid and marketing staffs of any liberal arts college in the country. The team worked hard and put in long hours to provide great service to prospective students and their families. I’m proud of the impressive class they have assembled for the fall. Despite a competitive market, we can all feel good about Washington College continuing to grow and thrive.”