Innovation begins with enrollment, and Mason  has found prosperity in its growing applicant pool.

As a fairly young university, Mason has already made large strides to improve its academic standing.

Its spot as number one on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of up-and-coming national universities pays tribute to Mason’s continuously increasing enrollment standards.

“The academic profile has increased over the past five years, primarily due to the large increase in applications we’ve seen,” said Sarah Dvorak, Mason Director of Undergraduate Admissions said. “Since we have more students applying than five years ago and still have around the same number of students in the freshman class, it has become more selective in general.”

Reported by College Board, in 2011 Mason received around 17,000 applications. Of those applicants, approximately 9,000 were admitted and just fewer than 3,000 enrolled.

According to Sarahbeth Morofsky, a Mason  Admissions Representative, the average SAT score of a Mason student (reading and math combined) is between 1150 and 1240.

The middle 50 percent range for ACT scores is 25 to 29. The average high school GPA is approximately 3.6 to 3.9. These numbers place Mason in the mix with the country’s most prestigious schools.

Along with ranking  number one on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of up-and-coming national universities, Mason is also ranked in the overall top 150 schools in the nation.

Its rankings continue to increase and Mason has been recognized by many institutions as a school to watch.

“The thing I find most amazing about Mason’s success is that it is such a young university,” said Morofsky in an information session for prospective students. “Mason has only been established for about 40 years, so to come this far so quickly is a huge accomplishment.”

Despite having a more selective admissions pool, the Admissions Office insists they have continued with their holistic approach to making application decisions and that their requirements have not changed over the years.

Admissions considers a number of aspects when reviewing applications.

These include primary factors, rigor of high school curriculum, grades, grade trends and test scores, as well as secondary factors including the optional personal statement, video essay, letters of recommendations and resumes.

“Most importantly, we need to feel confident that each student will be prepared academically for college coursework,” said Dvorak. “We’ve seen a marked increase in academic talent amongst our incoming freshmen as demonstrated by experience in more rigorous high school courses, higher GPAs and test scores than in years’ past.”

While the admissions office at Mason has not changed admissions requirements, the increased number of applicants has forced them to pay closer attention to these factors and become more selective.

Mason has seen such an increase in applicants because of all it has to offer as a university. Its diversity makes it especially unique and it attracts students from all over the world. Its location in a quiet, suburban area so close to Washington, D.C. also attracts students looking for a more subdued environment while having a city at close reach.

The unique Robinsons Professor program adds to the academic offerings, where professors from Ivy League schools are brought in to teach at Mason.

“Mason’s academic program encompasses a traditional devotion to classical education with innovative and modern aspects,” said Morofsky.

In regards to Mason’s slogan, “Where Innovation is Tradition,” Mason is continuously adding new aspects that attract a wide variety of students. This adds competition to the application pool as well as strength to the university as a whole.