JMU’s popularity among new students continues to soar

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For the first time in school history, James Madison University has eclipsed 40,000 undergraduate student applications in a recruiting class. 

Early Action decisions for the Class of 2028 were posted by JMU’s Office of Admissions on Tuesday, Jan. 23 — beginning another exciting season for new Dukes. 

JMU received 40,232 total undergraduate applications by the January 15 deadline, a 7% increase from 2023’s 37,613 total and a 25% jump from 2022. This year’s mark is a remarkable 78% higher compared to 2021. 

Total applications chart

According to Melinda Wood, JMU’s associate vice president for access and enrollment management and director of admissions, positive national exposure on several fronts has helped fuel the ongoing increase in popularity. 

“Once again, JMU continues to show that we are institution to watch in terms of commitment to academic excellence and athletics,” Wood said, noting that the university’s first Football Bowl Series bowl game was among a long list of impressive athletics showings on the national stage.

Wood points to significant hikes in Early Action applications across the past several years as having helped fuel JMU’s overall totals.

This year’s 26,935 Early Action applicants is a 12% increase from 2023’s 24,016 total. This year’s mark is 31% greater than in 2022 and an eye-popping 104% more than 2021’s 13,200.

The national attention that Madison has received in the last couple of years is undeniable, Wood said, adding, “JMU is highly sought after as an institution of higher learning and I’m proud to see all that we continue to accomplish as a university.” 

JMU continues to see impressive growth from rural, first-generation and students of color populations, Wood noted.

“Our national reputation as well as a student-focused, hands-on approach to learning make JMU appealing,” Wood said, “especially when you couple that with a strong campus community that is known for its supportiveness. I think those are all reasons why JMU becomes an attractive choice for many applicants.”

Other categories of note for the 2024 applicant pool include in-state numbers of 20,733 and an out-of-state tally of 18,142, increases of 4% and 7%, respectively. The majority of in-state applicants hail from Northern Virginia, Richmond and Virginia Beach. Included among in-state totals are 1,083 applications from Rockingham County.

Top academic interest areas include exploratory, biology, nursing, psychology, marketing, finance, pre-medicine and pre-law.


This year’s pool included applicants from 4,134 different schools and also from 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 92 different countries. 

Noted Wood, “It is important to recognize our admissions team members. They continue to work tirelessly to read, review and select the very best students for admission each year,” she said, adding, “It is an honor to work alongside an impressive team of admission professionals.”

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Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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