Tuesday, June 4, 2019

UVa reinstates Early Decision for 2019-20

By:  Nancy Griesemer 

After over a decade in mothballs,  binding early decision has returned to the University of Virginia for 2019-20.
The new old plan offers high school seniors the opportunity to apply to the University by mid-October and receive their admission decision before winter break. Admitted early decision applicants who apply for need-based financial aid and have completed both FAFSA and CSS Profile by November 15 will receive aid awards at the same time they receive their admission offer in December.
Early decision is designed for students who have determined by early fall that UVa is their top choice for college. It is a binding admission plan, meaning those who are admitted are committed to accepting an admission offer to UVa and promise to cancel applications to all other schools.
With the addition of early decision, UVa will offer three application options:
  • Early Decision: applications due by October 15 and students notified by December 15
  • Early Action: applications due by November 1 and students notified by January 31
  • Regular Decision: applications due by January 1 and students notified by April 1
“Early decision is for students who know without a doubt that UVA is their top choice for college,” said Dean of Admission Gregory W. Roberts. “Early action was established in 2011 and is for students who would like to receive an early notification of their admission decision, but want to keep their college options open over the winter.”
According to a press release, Roberts indicated that “all applicants will be evaluated in the same manner regardless of which plan they choose,” and he promises that no advantage or disadvantage will be given in the process based on which plan the applicant selects.
“Our mission is unchanged,” Roberts said. “We are committed to identifying and recruiting talented, interesting, ethical students from diverse backgrounds, high schools and communities who will both benefit from their experience at UVA and make our community, and the world, better.”
UVa began non-binding early action in fall 2011, after eliminating an older early decision option in 2007. At the time, Virginia stood alone with Harvard and Princeton supporting policies condemning all forms of early admission as disadvantaging low-income students. Although deans from the three schools have since traveled together as part of a fall tour promoting greater accessibility in admissions, they all eventually backed down from their positions and reinstated various forms of early admission. But only Virginia has gone back to early decision.
Possibly a desire to spread the huge administrative crush of applications now routinely coming in early and a wish to improve yield (the percent of students accepting an offer of admission) figured into the decision to add early decision as an option. But the fact remains that UVa is the only college in the country that has opted for an October 15 early decision deadline—the earliest permissible under NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).
Associate Dean of Admission Jeannine Lalonde explained, “…we will release the results of the Early Decision review in December. We haven’t been able to do that in about a decade. The applications are a bit higher than back then, so the deadline for the first group is moving up to October 15.”
UVa joins a number of other public institutions squeezing the application process by moving application deadlines up to October 15, such as Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina. No doubt school counselors with start dates after Labor Day will feel the pressure placed on them by the new UVa early decision option to get recommendations and transcripts out by a deadline set a few weeks into the school year.
And note that the University of Virginia will only be accepting the Common Application this year, which doesn’t go live until August 1, 2019.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

NACAC reports nearly 500 fabulous colleges still admitting students for fall 2019

By:  Nancy Griesemer:


According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) nearly 500 fabulous colleges and universities are still admitting qualified freshman and/or transfer students for fall 2019. And many of these schools also have financial aid and housing to offer.

Now in its 32nd year, the College Openings Update is a wonderful search tool for counselors, parents and teachers as they work with students who have not yet completed the college application and admission process. The listing applies equally for students who may have gotten a late start on their applications as well as for those who weren’t totally satisfied with admissions results received by the May 1 response deadline observed by many colleges.

“The NACAC College Openings Update is a win-win for students and postsecondary institutions,” said Joyce E. Smith, NACAC’s CEO. “For example, some colleges and universities may face challenges in predicting how many students will accept an admission offer. They may find openings in their incoming freshman class for deserving students if their predictions are slightly off. This creates opportunities for students seeking a great match after May 1.”

Typically, colleges continue to join the Update after the public release date until the page closes on June 30. The Update is a voluntary “bulletin board style” listing for NACAC members, including domestic as well as foreign institutions. This year, over 90 percent of colleges on the fall 2019 Update are based in the U.S., although Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries are well represented.

Note that if an institution—of any description—does not appear on the list, it does not necessarily mean there are no openings.  Not every college chooses to participate.

Nevertheless, the NACAC list contains some amazing opportunities for students still open to offers.

For example, Appalachian State University (NC), Arizona State University, Baylor University (TX), Belmont University (TN), Drew University (NJ), Florida Atlantic University (FL),  Hofstra University (NY), Iowa State University (IA), New College of Florida (FL), Oregon State University (OR), Pennsylvania State UniversityOhio Wesleyan University, St. Joseph’s University (PA), the University of Delaware (DE), the University of Denver (CO), the University of Maryland (MD), the University of Oregon, the University of San Diego (CA), Xavier University (OH), and West Virginia University (WV) are posting space available for the fall.

And Chapman University, Providence College (RI), Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Salve Regina University (RI), Santa Clara University (CA), TCU (TX), the University of Connecticut, Ursinus College and the University of Miami (FL) have spaces for transfers.

But be aware that this list is highly fluid.  "Admission is an ongoing process for many institutions,” Smith has noted in the past.

Over the next several weeks, colleges will finish reviewing their incoming classes for vacancies and if they want to publicize openings, they will add their names to the Update.  Already, the list has risen from about 400 colleges when it was first published to nearly 500 colleges and universities, as of this publication. So keep checking back!

In addition to the NACAC survey, colleges still accepting applications may be found by searching the College Board, Common Application and Universal College Application (UCA) websites (specific instructions are found here). As of May 11, 2019, the Common App shows 430 members still open to new applicants, including Christopher Newport University, Eckerd College (FL), the Florida Institute of Technology, Jacksonville University (FL), North Carolina State University (NC), “Ole Miss,” St. John’s College (MD/NM), Stetson University (FL), the University of Missouri (MO), Widener University (PA) and Xavier University (OH).

The bottom line is that you need to move quickly.  Colleges will only entertain applications as long as they have space available.

And for the most up-to-date information on specific colleges, contact the admissions offices of the schools directly. You may be surprised how glad they are to hear from you!

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Common Application announces new members for 2019-2020

By: Nancy Griesemer


The Common Application recently announced the addition of 50 new members to a roster of what will be almost 875 colleges and universities accepting the Common App for 2019-2020. The popular online platform and college planning website annually serves and supports over three million students, teachers and counselors in the U.S. and around the world. And with the addition of several large public institutions including the University of South Carolina, the University of Arkansas, Florida Atlantic University and Florida Gulf Coast University well as Elon University, Duquesne University and Landmark College, these numbers are bound to increase significantly.

“Our increasingly diverse member institutions, now located in all 50 United States, have demonstrated a shared commitment to pursuing access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. Thanks to our members, all students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to easily apply to the college or university that will help them achieve their best future,” said Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of The Common Application. “These colleges and universities are helping us forge a direct and unambiguous path to a viable future for all students, and we are elated and honored to welcome them into our membership.”

Membership in The Common Application is open to colleges sharing the organization’s mission of advancing college access and must be
  • Not-for-profit
  • Undergraduate degree-granting
  • Accredited by a regional accrediting association (if inside the U.S.)
  • A member of the Council of International Schools (if outside the U.S.)
  • Committed to the pursuit of equity and integrity in the college admission process
Member institutions are no longer required to also be members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). The requirement to evaluate students using a “holistic” selection process including a recommendation and an untimed writing sample (essay) was also dropped to accommodate a wider variety of member institutions.

As a result, the Common App membership includes
  • Colleges from 50 states plus Washington, DC
  • 370+ colleges with no application fee
  • 170+ public universities
  • Over 330 colleges not requiring a personal statement
  • 64 international universities
  • 340+ test-optional/test-flexible institutions (including colleges that only “sometimes” require tests)
But the Common App isn’t the only online application from which students can choose. This year, the Coalition Application was accepted by over 140 colleges and universities, including four exclusives: Virginia Tech and the Universities of Florida, Maryland and Washington. The Universal College Application (UCA) was welcomed by 18 institutions including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins, Cornell University, and Princeton. The Common Black College Application enabled students to apply to any number or combination of 53 HBCUs for a single low fee. The Cappex Application, with its promise of no application fees and no supplemental essays, was accepted by over 125 institutions including Cornell College, Eckerd College, Ohio Wesleyan, Queens University of Charlotte, and the University of Tampa. The Greenlight Scholars Application was accepted by 30 colleges and universities, including Carleton College, the College of Wooster and the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The QuestBridge National College Match application was welcomed by 40 highly selective colleges and universities.

And the following new member colleges and universities will be offering the Common Application for 2019-2020:

  • Arkansas State University (AR)
  • Baruch College, The City University of New York (NY)
  • Bridgewater College (VA)
  • Brooklyn College, The City University of New York (NY)
  • College of Staten Island, The City University of New York (NY)
  • Duquesne University (PA)
  • Elon University (NC)
  • Florida Atlantic University (FL)
  • Florida Gulf Coast University (FL)
  • Hunter College, The City University of New York (NY)
  • Kansas State University (KS)
  • Landmark College (VT)
  • Messiah College (PA)
  • Methodist College of UnityPoint Health (IL)
  • Midway University (KY)
  • Missouri Southern State University (MO)
  • Missouri State University (MO)
  • Mount Aloysius College (PA)
  • North Central College (IL)
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology (PA)
  • Dominican University (IL)
  • Eastrn Michigan University (MI)
  • Ryerson University (Ontario, Canada)
  • Shawnee State University (OH)
  • Simpson University (CA)
  • University of Arkansas (AR)
  • University of Charleston (WV)
  • University of Minnesota Crookston (MN)
  • University of North Dakota (ND)
  • University of South Carolina (SC)
  • University of Texas - Arlington (TX)
  • University of the Incarnate Word (TX)
  • Wichita State University (KS)
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College (WI)

Monday, April 8, 2019

UVa offers an alternative route to Charlottesville

By: Nancy Griesemer

While not exactly a “side door,” a new gate has opened to students deferred from UVa’s class of 2023—as long as they are willing to spend a year in Wise, Virginia.
Joining the ranks of colleges offering “alternative” routes to admission, the University of Virginia is proposing that a select group of students postpone starting in Charlottesville and spend a year at UVa-Wise, a small liberal arts college located not far from the Tennessee border.
https://media.licdn.com/dms/image/C4D12AQEkvvTaE81qFw/article-cover_image-shrink_720_1280/0?e=1560384000&v=beta&t=FLt7VdsTFWpd_QtPm-rKB6SWTAOrJf9ehscGAw_LsME“We are offering Virginians who were placed on the wait list for the College of Arts and Sciences the opportunity to enroll at the UVA College at Wise located in Southwest Virginia for one year before automatically enrolling at UVA in Charlottesville. Students in this program must complete 30 hours of transferrable credit post high school graduation at UVA-Wise with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or better to transfer into the College of Arts and Sciences at UVA.”
UVa has always had a great relationship with Virginia’s community college system and annually admits students earning two-year associates degrees through a guaranteed admission program. The UVa-Wise transfer offer is something new and wasn’t announced until notices went out to students wait listed for fall 2019 admission to UVa.
But not everyone was excited by the prospect of spending a year in rural Virginia, even if it meant an automatic transfer to the University of Virginia. Students posting on College Confidential had mixed reactions. One noted that UVa-Wise is “very much in the middle of nowhere,” while another pointed out that “it also seems to be a very small school, but maybe that would just mean more a more personalized education for the first year?”
One Fairfax County Public School student didn’t know much about UVa-Wise, but thought his offers at William and Mary and Virginia Tech made better sense for him. While he’s opting to stay on the UVa wait list, he has no intention of beginning his college career in Wise, Virginia. He added, “I don’t know anyone considering the offer.”
A member of the UVa-Wise Class of ’90 was quick to respond, “Is it small? Yes. Is the Town of Wise small? Yes. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a freshman. The classes are much less overcrowded, but the professors have very high standards and the academic rigor is there. The education is top notch.”
And the underlying message was clear, “If a year in Wise got you a ticket into Charlottesville and that’s your dream school, why not take it?”
Founded in 1954 as the Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia, UVa-Wise first offered four-year degrees in 1966 and officially changed its name to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, in 1999.
Since reaching a peak enrollment of 2,420 in 2012, UVa-Wise has steadily decreased in size to the point that the website reports a current enrollment of 2,021.
But having made a significant investment in new facilities, the Commonwealth is not about to let the university fail. Last week, UVa-Wise announced a rollback of the three-percent tuition increased planned for 2019-20, to $11,154—a bit less than the $14,094 in-state tuition (not including UVa’s substantial fees) planned for Charlottesville next year. In return for eliminating the tuition increase, UVa-Wise will receive an additional $235,000 from the Virginia General Assembly.
In addition, the General Assembly recently approved legislation allowing the college to offer reduced tuition to students who live within the Appalachian Regional Commission territory, which stretches from rural New York to Mississippi.
According to a press release, “The law is seen as one way for the liberal arts college, a division of the University of Virginia, to counter the same enrollment drop that is affecting most higher education institutions across the nation.”
But aside from some possible enrollment benefits for UVa-Wise, the University of Virginia is experimenting with a growing trend in higher education, which has created an underground network of alternative admissions offers. And these unexpected options contribute significantly to the confusion and stress faced by college applicants at this time of year.
For example, without apparent regard for harm done to freshman retention rates at other institutions, Cornell University admits students as sophomores, as long as they spend freshman year at another college or university and meet certain academic requirements. Northeastern University admits some freshman provided they study abroad for the first semester, while the University of Maryland admits students for the spring semester and encourages those students to take part in a fall program on campus where they could only take classes late in the afternoon or evening.
At Hamilton College, second semester admits may participate in a “gap” semester or enroll in courses at Arcadia University, at their London campus. The University of Southern California offers the “Trojan Transfer Plan,” through which students are provided with “a clear and predictable path to enrolling at USC for sophomore year” by attending a community college or one of four colleges in Europe. The University of Vermont, Middlebury College, Brandeis University, Rochester University, Michigan State, as well as the University of Tampa all offer second semester admission. And the list goes on.
On the plus side, these alternative admission plans offer students the possibility of attending their dream schools, even though they may not have been admissible as freshmen for the fall semester. On the other hand, these plans provide ways for colleges to dodge reporting lower scores or GPAs for the incoming class and to fill vacancies left by students traveling abroad or transferring out.
But the UVa-Wise offer seems to have a broader objective and could potentially benefit both schools. According to Kathy Still, UVa-Wise communications director, “Accepting students from the deferred list would further strengthen the relationship between Campus and Grounds,” which administratively share UVa President Jim Ryan and the UVa Board of Visitors.

While the College at Wise is unsure how many prospective UVa students will opt to take advantage of the new program, Ms. Still advises that “…interest is high and calls to our admissions office are brisk.” She goes on to add, “The students who enter the program would find an engaging faculty, rigorous academic classes, and they would leave after one year with 30 credit hours under their belts. It’s a win-win situation.”