Updated on Wed., Nov. 21 at 3:40 p.m.
Early decision applications for the class of 2017 climbed to 2,625 this year, more than double the number received just five years ago. The figure marks a 7 percent increase from last year and a new all-time Northwestern record. This is the eighth consecutive year seeing an uptick in applications, according to a University press release.
The rising number of students committing early to Northwestern – and to Northwestern only, if admitted – follows the record number of applications received overall for last year’s class. Applications topped 32,000 for the Class of 2016, the most academically gifted in the school’s 161-year history.
Christopher Watson, dean of undergraduate admissions, said he was surprised at the sharp jump in early applications.
"We were honestly expecting them to flatten out at a certain point....We thought this year we'd see a 3 or 4 percent increase at the most, but not 7," Watson said. "I think it speaks volumes to how well the school is being viewed nationally as well as internationally – the increases aren't just coming from the Midwest, but from all over the country and overseas too."
The announcement follows news that Northwestern, for the eighth year in a row, is among the top 10 producers of U.S. Fulbright grant recipients at the nation's research institutions, according to a ranking published in the Oct. 24 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.