High-speed network boosts GW's research power by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “Media Credit: Photo Courtesy of GW Media Relations
Chief Information Officer David Steinour
When Raja Mazumder analyzes billions of data pieces from DNA sequencing machines, it could take weeks or even months to share that research over the commercial Internet.
“It’s actually easier for me to just walk over to your office and hand it to you on a hard drive,” said Mazumder, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine.
But that will soon change, cutting that Internet wait time down to days or even hours.
Chief Information Officer David Steinour announced last week that GW will partner with the National Institutes of Health through a super-speed research network with even more info-sharing power for genomics data.
That faster connection could attract more professors as GW looks to strengthen research, especially in science and engineering, Steinour said.
“We positioned ourselves technically to attract researchers from other institutions or people coming right of their Ph.D. programs, etc. who want do high-level research,” Steinour said in an interview.
The University has started to build up the kind of research programs that leverage big data to make new discoveries. GW launched a computational biology institute last year and is now starting up a research center for genomics – all part of a long-term strategy to raise the University’s research profile and bring in more outside grants.
The high-speed network, which is run by a nonprofit called Internet2, went live at GW last December. GW previously connected to the network on a smaller scale through the University of Maryland, Steinour said, but decided it wanted more power to better compete with other colleges.
“We’ve decided because we want to be a top-tier institution from a research perspective that we would actually implement our own point of presence and then upgrade our bandwidth for high-capacity data moves,” he said.
The network is also offered to the city government, schools, libraries, museums and hospitals, which Steinour called a “community service.”
The difference in speed for the University will be palpable, deputy CIO Edward Martin said. GW is the “first customer,” receiving a “tenfold increase over the University’s previous connection,” he added.
Earlier this year, GW unveiled a top-performing computing center called Colonial One, which is located on the Virginia Campus for Science and Technology.
Mazumder, the medical school professor who is co-director of the school’s bioinformatics program, said the combined infrastructure updates will allow researchers to dig deeper into genomics. He said research in that area “suffers” when there is lag time because scientists can’t receive the data to advance their findings.
“The advent of genomics has resulted in this huge amount of data that gets produced, and once it gets produced, we just don’t want it to sit some place. We want to use it, compute on it, share it and so on,” Mazumder said.
Correction appended, March 7 at 11:05 a.m. The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the medical school had a DNA sequencing machine. The University actually receives data from sequencing machines at other institutions. We regret this error.”
Crime Log by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “Attempted Drug Law Violation
2/27/14 – 1:55 a.m.
A Gelman staff member received a complaint that an individual was offering to sell Adderall tablets in Kogan Plaza. The student was confronted by UPD and MPD officers and denied the allegations.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Drug Law Violation
2/27/14 – 10:55 a.m.
An administrative search of a dorm room was conducted and 19 prescription pills in an unmarked bottle were confiscated.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Destruction/Drug Law Violation/Liquor Law Violation/Disorderly Conduct
3/1/14 – 4:50 p.m.
UPD responded to a report of bottles being thrown out of a window. When officers arrived they found drug paraphernalia in plain view. An administrative search yielded drug paraphernalia, marijuana residue and alcohol.
- Referred for disciplinary action
3/4/14 – 3:05 p.m.
UPD responded for a report of an alumna refusing to leave the building.
- Subject barred Compiled by Benjamin Kershner”
Foggy Bottom officer earns city honors for hands-on approach with neighbors by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “Media Credit: Sam Klein | Photo Editor
Michael Reese, the second district police commander in charge of Foggy Bottom, has served as a Metro Police officer for 25 years.
During his 25 years in the Metropolitan Police Department, Michael Reese has investigated major crimes across the city, capturing armed drug dealers and violent sexual predators.
But as the second district police commander in charge of Foggy Bottom, Reese now spends most of his time talking to disgruntled neighbors about late-night partying, rowdy campus bars like McFadden’s and disruptions from the neighborhood’s stream of construction projects.
Reese, who was recently named MPD commander of the year, said even working in one of the city’s safest neighborhoods, his role is the same: getting to know neighbors and connecting the dots on crime trends.
“I would like everything to be a warm and fuzzy conversation, but the reality is that it’s not always that way,” Reese said of his conversations with neighbors. “You take it and deal with it.”
Last month, Reese earned the top honor among 3,800-member police force. The second district, which covers much of Northwest D.C., was also named best performing district of the year, with crime down 17 percent.
At the awards ceremony, Metropolitan Police chief Cathy Lanier praised Reese’s role in reducing crime in the second district in both 2012 and 2013.
“He uses strategic tactics to address crime, disorder and traffic issues. He also leads by example by walking foot-beats with his troops, attends roll calls and promotes networking and training for his members,” Lanier said at the ceremony, which drew hundreds to the Gallaudet University auditorium. Last year, Reese charged a group of officers to monitor high-traffic areas like nightclubs on Connecticut Avenue and Dupont Circle.
He's also taken a hands-on approach with students. Last weekend, Reese came to campus to meet with members of Greek life on campus “about life and being good neighbors.”
“Sometimes residents feel the students are dismissive to their needs and act a little like they’re privileged. That may or may not be true, but you try and work with them,” Reese said.
With more than 25,000 undergraduates from three universities – GW, Georgetown University and American University – under his purview, Reese has also managed communications between three separate campus police forces – a task that involves juggling daily email threads and phone calls with each department.
“I didn’t measure how it was before I got here, but when I got here I knew we had to establish ongoing dialogue,” Reese said. “Boundaries historically work to the advantage of the bad guys. I take a holistic approach.”
University Police Department chief Kevin Hay said Reese sends him daily crime updates and comes to campus for meetings and training sessions with officers, part of Reese’s commitment to make connections between departments so he never misses key details or crime trends.
“He has really upped the game when it comes to the sharing of information,” Hay said. “There’s a lot of collaboration happening on many levels and he really encourages that and so do I.”
Still, Reese acknowledged that the dynamic between UPD and MPD – which was scrutinized last fall when the two forces mishandled a pair of gun threats – has room for improvement.
“Everything isn’t always peaches and cream. We have operating issues we try and work through but you take them one at a time,” Reese said.
He said communication will continue to be a challenge between the two departments, but Reese said he thinks there are new ways to approach the problem. He pointed to GW's divisive proposal floated by administrators last summer to send officers off campus.
“I don’t think anyone should be opposed to anything, even if you’re a stakeholder, and live there. I wouldn’t be opposed to anything that’s going to help strengthen community ties, compliance and peaceful resolution,” Reese said. Two other second district police officers also earned best-of-the-year nods at the February award ceremony. Robert Fennell was named officer of the year and Thomas Rosenborg was named detective of the year – honors that are given to one person of each rank across MPD’s seven districts.”
Ben Krimmel: The Colonials get their swagger back by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “Media Credit: Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor
On Senior Night, the Colonials punched their ticket to the big dance.
The five-point victory over Saint Joseph’s was far from the prettiest game GW has played all year, but it was one of the most memorable in an already memorable season.
The Foggy Bottom faithful got their last chance to witness an Isaiah Armwood double-double and a Maurice Creek 20-point performance—regularities that are underappreciated because of their frequency.
Though a smiling Creek held a large cardboard cutout of his own smiling face at the victorious postgame press conference, victory was far from certain for much of the second half.
Media Credit: Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor
Junior John Kopriva celebrates Wednesday night at Saint Joseph's.
With just over 10 minutes to play in the game, GW’s 14-point first-half lead had faded to a distant memory. The Colonials found themselves down eight points and in danger of becoming one of the dreaded “on the bubble” teams for the NCAA Tournament.
But once again, head coach Mike Lonergan’s squad proved that they are not the Colonials of season’s past and didn’t let their late-first-half falter become a game-costing tumble.
To overcome the deficit, GW mapped out an offensive gameplan: create open space for shooters by exploiting Saint Joseph’s when they went to double-team the Colonials’ big men in the post.
It worked. Guard Joe McDonald fed the ball to forward Kevin Larsen, who would take on the double-team and find a teammate cutting to the basket or an open player on the perimeter for a jumper.
With good spacing and timely ball movement, guard Patricio Garino scored 10 of his 17 points down the stretch and GW knocked down a trio of three pointers, all on Larsen’s assists.
But GW slammed the door shut not through ball movement, but on tough shots by one of the toughest players in college basketball: Joe McDonald.
The play was McDonald personified. With the shot clock winding down and GW holding on to a five-point edge, McDonald drove to the middle of the paint and nailed a jumper with his defender draped all over him.
McDonald finished the game with 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting – 4-for-6 from behind the arc – and added four assists and six rebounds.
The sophomore from Lorton, Va. has proven that he has plenty of moxie. Battling a hip injury all season, McDonald hasn’t stopped driving to the basket, absorbing contact and falling hard to the floor. And despite every fall resulting in a tremendous thud, McDonald remains a scoring respite for the Colonials when they need a basket.
After the loss at Saint Louis, Lonergan said of the Colonials: “We’ve got to get our swagger back.” With back-to-back wins under its belt, the team has gotten a bit more of that early season pep in their step.
And speaking of steps, injured guard Kethan Savage was walking around the Smith Center Wednesday night without the aid of crutches, and had cast or boot on his broken foot. The Colonials have seven days before the Atlantic 10 Tournament and a healthy Savage would be a huge boost for an already confident squad.
The hard part of the end of the season is over for the Colonials. A six-game stretch that saw GW face the top four teams in the conference has come to a 3-3 close. With bottom feeder Fordham on Saturday, confidence can multiply.
This win is another one for Colonials fans to savor. Early season hopes of a return to basketball relevancy have been exceeded and the faith of many has been rewarded.
GW is headed back to the NCAA Tournament. Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.”
District Sound: Shows to ring in spring by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “Media Credit: Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
The return from the sun-drenched respite of spring break can be tough, but these shows come just in time to re-inject fun into your routine even with classes back in session.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
9:30 Club | March 21 | $16
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has mastered the traits that propel indie rockers to festival lineups and late-night-talk-show appearances. Mildly humorous, hipster-appealing band name? Check. Fluttering spurts of electropop amid lighthearted, lilting riffs? Check. They’re less ethereal than Passion Pit and less sprightly than the Cold War Kids, but harness a tension of eccentric instrumentalism and sing-a-long melodies. The tribal percussion and foggy vocals of “War Zone” quickly delve into pops of punchy keyboard and peppy trumpet lines, and the twangy lead of “Hiding” promptly segues into a springy, chant-filled lament of love nearly lost. It’s easy listening primed for the festival milieu.
Dum Dum Girls
Black Cat | March 22 | $15 advance, $18 day of show
The tools for rock and roll innovation are within their grasp, but the Dum Dum Girls offer tame, store-brand rock – a sound that subsists on repetitive elementary chord progressions and filmy, distorted amplifier settings. “Coming Down” and “Bedroom Eyes” are instrumentally safe and colorless, propped up only by occasional surf rock guitar twangs and the smooth composure of Dee Dee Kenny’s vocals. There’s promise in the Strokes-like zing of “Lost Boys and Girls Club” and the hazy harmonies of “He Gets Me High,” which harness mildly more explorative sonic lines. The Dum Dum Girls exude cool and undaunted demeanors. It’s a shame that same temerity doesn’t translate to the music itself.
Rock and Roll Hotel | March 23 | $16 What makes Betty Who sound new and unfamiliar is, ironically, her explicit nods to pop of the past. Her vitalizing, vapory sound is rooted in nostalgia – she embraces the jovial dance pop vibes of her 1980’s predecessors, fusing subdued vocal tones with blips of digitized melodies in “You’re in Love.” Only in “High Society” does her sound veer into Barbie pop territory, lazily addressing privilege where Lorde’s “Royals” more finely captured a simultaneous reverence and disdain for luxury. Call it a case of unfortunate timing – Betty Who’s EP “The Movement” was released one month after “Royals” nestled permanently on radio stations – but lines like “We'll drink Chardonnay through the day ‘cause we say so/A silk lapel suits you well baby you know” play on all-too-obvious tropes. But a playful verve and genuine ease define Betty Who’s sound – a welcome respite from the contrived sexiness and tired formulas of Katy Perry and Selena Gomez.”
Chase Hardin: Put a stop to public shaming of Greek life by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 ““Greeks, ye be warned.” That’s the message GW is sending by announcing it will post a public listing of student organizations’ violations to the code of conduct.
Fear is a valid response – but indignation would be more appropriate. Peyton Zere, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, offered a diplomatic retort, telling me he was “very pleased with the way the administration has handled this topic, giving student leaders the opportunity to provide constructive input on how this idea will be implemented.”
Even though most Greek leaders have publicly shrugged their shoulders at the move, this is the latest – and most humiliating – blow to Greek life we’ve seen in recent years.
Zere’s response is emblematic of a wider Greek retreat on disciplinary issues. The Center for Student Engagement made the decision to post the charges unilaterally, consulting student organizations after the fact in a half-hearted attempt to placate them. The CSE has proved open to discussion on details, but one thing was made clear: The registry would go ahead with or without the support of the Greek community.
An online database poses the undue danger of guilt by association. Even if the charges are not profoundly egregious, the student organization will suffer the consequences if it has been listed in the database. After four years, an entirely new group of students will comprise the organization. The listing will mean next year’s freshmen suffer for the sins of this year’s seniors.
GW has dished out similar attacks against Greek life this year. Last summer, the University announced plans to collect a registry of students living off campus – starting with Greeks – and take more aggressive police action in an attempt to appease grumbling Foggy Bottom neighbors.
There’s only one major difference between the two stories, however. Rather than confronting this most recent issue head on, Greek leaders are now choosing a frustrating non-response, allowing themselves to be bullied and publicly shamed by administrators.
A website has the potential to truly damage recruitment efforts for Greek life. Here’s what I mean: At GW, not all hazing is created equal. Under the University’s broad definition , something like a benign scavenger hunt is considered hazing. That is not equitable to coercive consumption of alcohol, a disturbing and barbaric form of hazing which we all have a responsibility to condemn.
Providing the student body at large with basic knowledge of a charge without putting the charges into perspective by disclosing essential context is a dangerous precedent to set. A potential new member of a Greek chapter stumbling across the all-encompassing “hazing” charge online might be unable to discern what specifically this means.
Without context, this website may leave unfair blemishes on an organization’s perception, damaging the reputation of its members. The University shouldn’t launch a registry that, without context, could mislead students into believing many code violations are much worse than they are.
Administrators are assuring chapters that the disclosures is for all student organizations. But this was clearly an after-thought meant to provide the illusion of neutrality – some of the largest student organizations on campus, including the College Democrats, deny ever being consulted or informed of the decision.
Let’s drop the façade here. This isn’t an attempt to provide transparency. It’s just another attempt to limit GW’s liability while quelling some of the most constructive student activity on campus.
This is targeted toward Greek groups, not unlike the brazen targeting of off-campus Greek life housing in the fall. Yet student leadership is turning a blind eye and remaining silent to the challenge.
Details as to what, exactly, this site would contain are vague. In an interview with The Hatchet, Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said that such details haven’t been decided. He said that previous charges will not be listed, but also noted it was possible for charges to remain on the webpage for as long as six years. A registry could keep the wounds of violations open for years after they’re relevant.
Every student leader should be more concerned about this than their public comments suggest. Chase Hardin is a junior majoring in international affairs. He is also a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.”
Women's basketball in unfamiliar territory heading into A-10 tournament by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “Media Credit: Judy Lim | Hatchet Photographer
The women's basketball team meets at mid-court during a pre-tournament practice at the Smith Center earlier this week.
Women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis came to a losing GW team two years ago, stepping in to turn the program around. Now, in his sophomore season, the team has rediscovered its winning potential after struggling for half a decade.
The Colonials start Atlantic 10 Championship play on Friday in the quarterfinals, after earning a double bye in the tournament with a four seed. GW finished the season with an upset over regular-season champion Dayton.
GW, though a contender, isn’t a favorite to take home the A-10 trophy or make the NCAA Tournament, but they could get hot. As forward Megan Nipe said, the team can “beat anyone in this conference.”
Nipe and fellow graduate student Danni Jackson provide senior leadership for GW. The goofy pair poke fun at each other after games, but they take the prospect of winning a championship very seriously.
None of GW’s active players have experienced a winning season with the team and the furthest the Colonials have gone in the A-10 tournament in recent years was a quarterfinal loss last year to Dayton. The then-eight-seeded team won a first-round game against No. 9 Richmond to get to the quarters, the first A-10 tournament win for the squad since 2008.
Sixth-year graduate student Brooke Wilson will travel with the team, but is unlikely to play due to an injury. Wilson is the only player on the team who has experienced a winning season with the Colonials, during her freshman year in the 2008-2009 season when the squad went 17-12.
Tsipis said he thinks Nipe will be playing with a chip on her shoulder after not receiving the A-10 Sixth Woman of the Year award.
“I think she’s disappointed. I’ve seen that where it’s manifested itself – hopefully it will take itself out on a couple of the teams were playing on in the postseason,” Tsipis said.
Still, GW leads the A-10 with three players making it onto all-conference team rosters, as announced by the league Tuesday. Caira Washington won Rookie of the Year and, along with Jackson, was named to the third team. Sophomore Jonquel Jones got a spot on the second team.
While GW is adjusting to its new status as a contender, the opponents blocking their way to the title game are mainstay powerhouses.
“I think it’s premature to [say] we’re going to win the championship on Sunday. We talk about we’re going to play well Friday,” Tsipis said. “We’re packing for the whole weekend.”
Barring an upset by the winner of the play-in game between No. 13 Massachusetts and No. 12 George Mason against No. 5 Saint Joseph's, GW will take on the defending-league champion Hawks in the quarterfinals on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
In either scenario, GW’s quarterfinal opponent will be one they have faced twice during the regular season – having toppled both the Minutewomen and Patriots twice, while splitting games with the Hawks.
“We're at the point where our kids have at least played in this quarterfinal game after last year, but [need] to understand the turnaround and getting ready,” Tsipis said.
Should they jump that hurdle successfully, the next likely opponent would be the regular season champion Dayton Flyers, who play the winner of No. 8 VCU and No. 9 Richmond in the quarterfinals.
These teams have players seasoned over their college careers to make deep postseason runs – something GW lacks. Tsipis said one of the main challenges for the team will be maintaining focus in that new environment.
“Just be able to go one game at a time, but knowing that you've done the things to put yourself in this position to succeed and hopefully with the mindset that we’ll be there all weekend,” Tsipis said.
While players like Nipe and Jackson lend a jovial air to the squad, Tsipis brings experience, with his NCAA championship ring gleaming from his finger during games. After deep postseason runs during his time on the Notre Dame coaching staff, he’ll be a steadying force for the Colonials in Richmond.
Tsipis said that Notre Dame head coach Muffett McGraw has texted him frequently throughout the season and that they’ve each wished each other postseason success recently.
“They’re kind of like us,” Tsipis said. “They’re trying to figure out how to win three games in a row in the next week.”
The Colonials have gone to the most NCAA tournaments in conference history, but Dayton will likely see NCAA Tournament action after A-10’s for the fifth-straight year. It would likely take a conference championship to get the Colonials into the group of 64 teams.
Tsipis will be focusing on keeping his team composed, especially Nipe and Jackson, who he said may be inclined to press.
“I think there is a maturity level with Danni and Meg that at times when they’ve pressed a little bit, it’s a matter of making sure that I’m doing what I need to be doing all the time. Just teaching them and getting through that process,” Tsipis said. Whether or not nerves get the best of them, GW has the momentum of seven wins in the last nine games in its back pocket.”
UCC director seeks increased funding for suicide prevention by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “The University Counseling Center director is lobbying for funding to help mobilize the campus to prevent suicide, an issue that has come into focus after a freshman killed himself earlier in January.
UCC director Silvio Weisner said this week he hopes to secure tens of thousands of dollars from the University budget to hire a suicide prevention specialist and expand training for faculty and staff by paying for online tutorials. The training would help the community to more quickly identify students struggling with severe cases of depression.
“As we move forward into the next budget year, I’m certainly looking into campus-wide systemic ways to provide training and education around suicide prevention and really on identifying students with distress,” Weisner said.
It is the University’s first mental health-related response to the suicide of freshman Sean Keefer, who took his own life in his West Hall residence hall in January. The last reported suicide on campus before that took place in 2011.
He said there are many "gatekeepers" in all areas of campus that can intercept an at-risk student before it is too late, but they largely need to better understand the signs with training.
At a large university like GW, Weisner said it’s impossible to mandate suicide prevention training across campus. But he said the resources would improve existing efforts to train faculty, administrators and residence hall staff at conferences and workshops.
Since hiring Weisner, the University has gradually upped the center’s budget, highlighting its commitment to mental health awareness on campus. Last year the center was given a $200,000 increase to hire specialists for international students and veterans.
GW also launched a mental health referral system called CARE Network two years ago, in which students and employees can call attention to individuals who may need extra support.
Weisner said he's seen more reports from the system being referred to UCC this year, but could not provide specific numbers because his office did not keep them.
Falling through the cracks
The focus on suicide prevention comes as the center still tries to lessen waitlist times, which has drawn complaints for years.
Weisner has made strides since he arrived at the counseling center in 2012, expanding walk-in hours, adding group sessions and hiring three specialists. But he said the center still needs more money to better identify at-risk students and help more quickly or some will fall through the cracks.
Marianne, a freshman who spoke on the condition that her last name would not be published, said she waited more than three months after asking for an appointment in November.
While she was on campus over Thanksgiving break, she said she called GW’s overnight mental health services hotline during a panic attack, but hung up in frustration because the staff member was unable to calm her down. Police officers were then dispatched to her residence hall to escort her to the GW Hospital.
After the hospitalization, she tried to get an appointment at UCC, but was told there was a backlog of appointments and encouraged by counseling staff to seek help off campus.
Strapped for cash, Marianne said she could not afford to see an outside counselor.
“I didn't have the money to find someone. I wanted to be scheduled with the University because the first six sessions are free. But it took being hospitalized and four months before I got a call,” she said.
Marianne said UCC needs to make sure students who need help are not left waiting - especially when they are thousands of miles away from their families and do not go home during breaks. She also said counselors should take financial concerns into consideration when placing students on the waitlist.
Measuring the waitlist
Weisner said he could not comment on specific cases, but that November to the spring is typically a very high demand period. He said many appointment requests would roll over from one semester to the next, but would not say how many students were still waiting for appointments.
Being transparent about the length of a center's waitlist is a best practice at college centers nationwide, said Karen Bower, a lawyer who specializes in cases dealing with mental health services on college campuses.
She said prospective students specifically should be provided with the number of the counselor per student ratio and how long the wait list is before making a decision on where they should apply.
“That information should be available. It shouldn't be a secret they are keeping,” Bower said.
She added that other important factors include if there is a cap on appointments or if sessions are free. “They're all really important questions for students to consider. Every effort should be made to understand that,” she said.
Farrah Hasnain, the president of the GW chapter of the suicide prevention organization To Write Love on Her Arms, said she had similarly heard several stories of the waitlist recently keeping students waiting three months. “If you’re in crisis mode, it’s not good at all,” Hasnain said.”
GW accepts nearly two-thirds of early decision applicants by The GW HatchetMar 06, 2014 “Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Koehler, the University’s first-ever enrollment manager, came last summer to craft a data-driven recruitment strategy as GW’s admit rate and application numbers have stagnated over the last three years.
The University accepted 64 percent of its early decision applicants this year, a 20-point spike and the highest rate in five years after a steep drop-off in applications.
The move, which administrators say was part of its strategy to improve the academic credentials of its incoming class, marks a shift in admissions tactics and puts GW out of line with many of its competitors who remain highly selective.
GW’s enrollment manager Laurie Koehler said declining selectivity is all part of the plan. She said she is unconcerned by this year’s 20-point rise in acceptance rate because admitted students actually scored slightly better than last year’s pool.
The median SAT scores of early decision admits ticked up by about 10 points, with the middle 50 percent this year scoring between 1190 to 1320. ACT scores also increased slightly.
She said these are the effects of the University’s move to exclusively use the Common Application, instead of opening up its own application.
“The decision to move to exclusively using the Common Application was made to bring in a high quality applicant pool and thus a high quality enrolling class. The Early Decision numbers so far remind us of the importance of focusing on whom we enroll,” Koehler said.
In past years, the admissions office counted applications from GW’s own separate form, which did not require a $75 fee upfront. Students last fall had to submit all materials at once through the Common Application.
GW received 1,107 early decision applications and admitted 712 students, according to a Wednesday release. Last year, it admitted 960 out of 2,157 applicants.
By admitting fewer students early decision, administrators will now feel pressure to admit more regular decision applicants to fill residence halls and guarantee tuition dollars. If the University misses its enrollment goal, it might have to enroll a larger class next year to fill the gap.
Koehler said she expected a dramatic drop because a large portion of students have historically applied through GW’s application.
“By removing the GW application, we have restricted this pool, but are seeing more serious applicants through the streamlined application process,” she said.
That means the University’s overall acceptance rate “will be markedly higher than in years past,” Koehler wrote in a release, though she maintained that it would still be competitive with GW’s peers.
She predicted that early decision applications would drop because of the “multiple hoops students had to jump through” as well as having to pay for their fees upfront.
Koehler, the University’s first-ever enrollment manager, came last summer to craft a data-driven recruitment strategy as GW’s admit rate and application numbers have stagnated over the last three years.
The University’s early admissions rate has fluctuated over the past decade. It accepted the least amount of applicants – 36 percent – in 2011.
While GW said the effect was seen across higher education, three schools similar to GW that have released their admissions rates did not see drastic changes in selectivity or application numbers.
Georgetown University admitted 14 percent of its early decision applicants, an increase by one percentage point from last year. The neighboring university, which does not accept the Common Application, received more than 6,700 early applications.
Duke University’s admissions rate dropped to 25 percent this year after receiving the largest number of early decision applications in the school’s history.
Christoph Guttentag, the dean of admissions at Duke, said the university planned to only accept the Common Application this year, but backtracked after students reported glitches with the online system.
Northwestern University, which exclusively uses the Common Application, saw its early admission rate shift from 33 to 32 percent after an increase in applications.
Melissa Clinedinst, a researcher at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said some applicants might have learned too late that GW used the Common Application exclusively.
“Students might not have known about it until late in the game,” Clinedinst said. - Nicole Dunsmore contributed reporting”
Law school becomes less selective by The GW HatchetMar 03, 2014 “Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
The GW Law School accepted about 42 percent of applicants last year.
If you want a spot in the No. 21 law school in the country, it’s now a lot easier to get in.
Forty-two percent of applicants secured admission to the GW Law School last year – eroding selectivity by 13 percentage points in a single year as the school tried to amass tuition dollars despite declining application numbers.
But the numbers show an even more extreme picture of how the school's admissions have changed over the past few years. In 2004, GW Law School accepted just 17 percent of applicants, a standard that helped it rise in the rankings and maintain elite status.
Accepting more applicants last year enabled the college to grow its incoming class by one-fifth after record-low enrollment cut into tuition revenue. The college has also had to foot $2 million to $3 million a year to pay stipends to recent graduates who can only find short-term, unpaid legal jobs.
Gregory Maggs, the school’s interim dean, and Sophia Sim, the assistant dean of admissions, declined to comment last week on whether they were concerned by the increase, what selectivity meant for the school or their plans moving forward.
Provost Steven Lerman presented the data at a Faculty Senate meeting in February. The school submitted the data to the American Bar Association in October, but declined to release all of it publicly.
“What has happened nationally is the number of students going to law schools has plummeted pretty quickly,” Lerman said. “Not surprisingly, the competition for JD students has accelerated, and the number of law schools out there has not dropped.”
GW’s yield rate – the number of students who accept an offer of admission – also dropped this year to 16.7 percent, the lowest the school has seen in at least a decade.
Other schools, like New York and Emory universities, have opted to shrink the size of their law schools, in part because of the decline in legal jobs. Less than half of the GW Law School’s Class of 2012 secured full-time salaried jobs nine months after graduation.
Only one peer school, American University, saw a bigger slide in its selectivity than GW's. Southern Methodist University’s law school had the next biggest jump, increasing its acceptance rate by 7 percentage points this fall.
Like many law schools across the country, GW received about 400 fewer applications this year, but the school increased its class size by about 80 students.
GW is tied at No. 21 with the University of Alabama School of Law in U.S. News and World Report's top law schools, though Alabama reported no increase in its admissions rate this year. The university has accepted 25 percent of applicants to its law school for the last two years.
Admissions rate accounts for only a small fraction of U.S. News' methodology. New rankings are set to be released this month.
Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and author of “Don’t Go To Law School (Unless),” said GW has cut its academic standards by accepting more students.
“Basically they doubled the percentage of people they admit in terms of what it was two years ago and in course of doing that they really lowered the LSAT number of entering class,” he said. The median LSAT score for this year's class fell from 167 to 165, falling to the 95th to 93rd percentile of those who took the test, which Campos said was "pretty significant in terms of law school admission." Most of GW’s peer institutions also saw a decline in median LSAT scores, as all but two of the 14 schools had just a two- or three-point drop.”
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