The number of high school seniors who are absolutely sure that Northwestern University is their first choice for college has broken yet another record.

Northwestern received 2,450 early decision applications, 15.2 percent more than last year. That follows a 26 percent jump in early decision applications last year.

Michael Mills, associate provost for University enrollment at Northwestern says the inchreases show thaqt “Northwestern’s reputation as a leading research university that emphasizes undergraduate teaching is compelling to both students and their parents.”

In addition, total applications for the Class of 2015 — 30,975 – were 12 percent higher than the year before and nearly double the number received in fall 2005 (16,228). Accordingly, only 18 percent of applicants were admitted for this school year, versus 23 percent last year.

According to the New York Times, other selective schools have also seen an increase in early decision applications this year, with Duke up 23 percent,  Johns Hopkins up 15 percent and Dartmouth up 2 percent.

This year Princeton and Harvard both went back to offering early decision programs after dropping them four years ago amid controversy about how they can lock student in and deny them the chance to angle for the best financial aid package from competing schools.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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