W&L first-year class sets admission, financial aid records

wl universityWhen fall semester undergraduate classes begin Sept. 11, Washington and Lee University will enroll its most qualified first-year class, selected from a near-record number of applicants. And nearly half will receive direct financial aid from the university in the form of grant assistance.

The 239 women and 234 men were admitted from 5,801 applicants. Their SAT scores averaged above 700 for the first time — 707 in critical reading and 704 in math — and their average composite ACT score was a record-high 32. Almost 95 percent completed advanced placement coursework or the international baccalaureate diploma. They represent 390 secondary schools in 40 states and 18 countries.

Tying a record amount, 47 percent will receive direct financial aid from W&L, with the average grant at $42,980. The university continues its policy of not making loans part of its financial aid packages. And 68 members of the Class of 2018, or 15 percent, are the first to benefit from the W&L Promise, a program that provides at least full tuition scholarships to admitted students whose family income is less than $75,000 a year.

The class includes 46 Johnson Scholars, selected to receive W&L’s prestigious scholarship recognizing academic achievement, exceptional leadership potential and personal promise. Now in its seventh year, the Johnson program, established through a $100 million gift, covers tuition, room and board in full. Just under 3,000 students applied for the award. (Click here to view an infogram on W&L trends in financial aid.)

In its efforts to attract and enroll a diverse class, Washington and Lee continued its partnership with QuestBridge, a non-profit organization that assists low-income, high-achieving students with college applications. QuestBridge’s National College Match Program connects those students with admission and scholarships at some 27 partner colleges and universities. Twenty-four QuestBridge students are members of the class.

Some 21 percent — 99 entering students — are either Pell Grant recipients or domestic minority or first generation college students.

Twenty-nine W&L first-years are National Merit Scholars; 311 are National Honor Society or Cum Laude Society members; 65 were student body or class presidents or vice presidents; 65 were editors of their high school newspapers, yearbooks or literary magazines; and 18 are Eagle Scout or Gold Award recipients. Also among the class are 241 varsity team captains, and 286 completed more than 100 hours of verifiable community service.

Geographically, 13 percent hail from Virginia, 6 percent each from North Carolina, Texas and Maryland, and just under 6 percent each from Florida and New Jersey. The 18 international students come from Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.