For many years, George Mason University’s Admissions Office printed more applications than it did viewbooks. There was a time when the students didn’t need to see what the university had to offer in the way of degree programs. Those high school seniors were going to send in an application anyway—just in case. Yes, we might have been considered a safety school by some. If you couldn’t get into your dream school, you could always come to Mason. No more.
In fact, it isn’t unusual to hear alumni say they probably couldn’t get into Mason if they were applying now. That just might be true for some. Admission to Mason right now is more competitive than at any time in its history.
According to Daniel Robb, assistant vice president for enrollment management, the last 10 years really show how radically different things are now. In 2001, Mason received 8,106 applications for basically 2,000 seats. In 2011, the university received twice as many applications—17,882—for approximately 2,500 seats. The incoming class for 2001 was 2,149; in 2011, it was 2,690. That’s a lot of disappointed students.
“We don’t want to disappoint people,” says Robb of the process, but he admits that he often gets an e-mail or letter from an unhappy student or parent.
Despite the fact that the application process is now almost completely online, Robb says that each and every application they receive is reviewed by at least one member of the Admissions staff.
In that same 10-year period, the average GPA of an incoming freshman went from 3.20 to 3.65.
“We aren’t getting a lot of students who didn’t hit it out of the park when they were in high school,” says Robb. “The value of a Mason degree is higher than it has ever been. Everyone wants to be part of that.”
“We may miss some really amazing people [in the selection process], but the trouble with success is you just can’t accept everyone,” he says.
Still, Robb and his staff look out for those who consider Mason their dream school. “For those who want help, we try to give appropriate advice on how they could prepare themselves to transfer to Mason.”
As a result of such stiff competition, Mason’s incoming classes are truly something to behold. Meet some of Mason’s newest Patriots at the beginning of their college careers.
A Snapshot of the Class of 2015
2,059 were involved in community service
960 were members of the National Honor Society or the Beta Club
957 were involved in instrumental or vocal music (11 were marching band drum majors)
407 were involved in student government activities
305 were captains or cocaptains of their sports team
56 are Eagle Scouts
55 participated in JROTC
5 were senior class presidents