JMU Headlines

JMU racks up more records

68% jump in first-year applications in two years

by Bill Gentry


James Madison University is experiencing another historic increase in popularity among the current crop of incoming students.


Regular Decision notices were posted by JMU’s Office of Admissions on Thursday, March 9 — beginning another exciting season for new Dukes.

JMU received 36,966 applications by the January 15 deadline, a 17% increase from 2022’s 31,672 total, according to Melinda J. Wood, JMU’s associate vice president for access and enrollment management and director of admissions.

JMU is poised to welcome its newest crop of Dukes into the fold, Wood says. “We are excited to see all the ways that the Class of 2027 will write its unique chapter as a part of the JMU family.”

A testament to JMU’s skyrocketing popularity, this year’s total represents a 68-percent increase from the 22,035 total of just two years ago.

Wood says the performance of her admissions staff is nothing short of remarkable.

“I look at this as a moment when the admissions staff has risen to the occasion and is leading this university through a celebratory moment in our history,” she says. “It has taken tremendous collaboration and teamwork to ensure careful evaluation and consideration of each applicant given the dramatic increase in applications. I cannot thank or recognize each and every member of our team enough for their collective expertise and dedication during this historic time in the life of JMU.”

The dramatic jump is due in part to the university’s decision to join the Common Application, a collective of more than 900 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. According to Wood, participation in the Common Application gives JMU “the ability to recruit a broader landscape of students, which is critical to our national platform.”

Wood cites JMU’s 26% uptick among first-generation college students — 7,898 compared to last year’s 5,844 total — as yet another sign that Madison is a highly sought-after place to be. This year’s tally is an eye-popping 177% jump from 2021’s 2,847 applicants.

The same holds true for ethnic diversity among applicants, with this year’s 12,717 representing a 26% jump over last year’s 10,094 and an astronomical 225-percent hike compared to 2021’s 3,903 applicants.

“Historically, the Common Application has served under-represented minority students,” Wood says, and JMU’s foray into the field already populated by most Virginia colleges and universities “gives us a seat at the table, and an important one because so many first-generation students who don’t have the support structure at home to understand what the process for applying to college looks like can now easily find JMU.”


Adds Wood, “We can expect to see greater access to under-represented populations that have historically not always applied, which I believe is essential for JMU as student demographics change in the next five to seven years.”

The pool includes students from a significantly higher number of different high schools this time around — a 7% increase with 4,151 compared to last year’s 3,873.

The top five cities in Virginia for total numbers of applicants are Virginia Beach, Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn and Henrico.

The top five states outside of Virginia are New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.

Back to Top

Published: Thursday, March 9, 2023

Last Updated: Monday, March 13, 2023

Related Articles