November 9, 2011 — The University of Virginia's first non-binding "early-action" admission program attracted 11,417 applications from high school seniors.
Dean of Admission Gregory W. Roberts last year announced the revamped "early-action" plan, which allows students who apply by Nov. 1 to receive a response by Jan. 31, but does not require them to enroll if they are admitted.
The University discontinued its binding "early-decision" program – under which students could apply only to U.Va. and committed to enroll if they were admitted – four years ago amid concerns about the lack of racial and economic diversity in the early applicant pool.
Among the specific concerns about the former plan was that only students from wealthier backgrounds could afford to make a binding commitment to U.Va. without comparing financial aid offers, which become available in the spring – long after the early-decision deadline. By contrast, students admitted under the new early-action plan are not obligated to accept admission offers, may apply to other schools and may wait to compare financial-aid packages before selecting their colleges.
Preliminary indications are that the early-action applicants are more racially diverse than the 2,422 students in the final early-decision pool in 2007, but not as diverse as the overall applicant pool for the class that enrolled in August. Self-identified minority students make up 23.3 percent of the early-action pool, compared to 19.3 percent of the 2007 early-decision pool and 29.4 percent of the regular-decision applicant pool in 2011, Roberts reported earlier this month in a memo to members of U.Va.'s Board of Visitors.
The number of applications from several minority groups were up sharply compared to the final year of early decision. In 2007, 70 applications came from African-American students; this year, the number was 390. Similar increases came from Hispanic (72 to 642), Asian (282 to 997) and international students (75 to 873).
Information about the applicants' economic backgrounds will be available after the March 1 deadline to apply for financial aid, Roberts said.
The University plans to admit between 3,360 and 3,400 students for the class that enters in August 2012, Roberts said. He said there is no cap on the number of students who will be admitted under the early-action plan, adding, "I think we'll be cautious, because we don't know what will be coming in during the regular admission cycle."
Students who applied early will be notified by Jan. 31 whether their applications have been accepted, declined or deferred to the regular-admission cycle. Students may be deferred to give admissions deans one more look at their senior-year grades or test scores, or to see how they stack up against the regular-admissions pool, Roberts said.
The early-action applicants have posted impressive SAT scores, averaging 1,352 on a 1,600-point scale on the math and verbal portions of the standardized test. That compares to an average of 1,310 among both the applicants to the current first-year class and the 2007 early-decision applicants.
Approximately 7.1 percent of the early-action applicants are international students, compared to 11.7 percent in the most recent regular-decision pool and 3.1 percent of the 2007 early-decision applicants, Roberts reported.
The Curry School of Education's newly expanded four-year kinesiology program, being offered to first-year students for the first time, received 208 applications, Roberts said. Previously, students entered the kinesiology program at the beginning of their third year at the University.
The deadline for the regular admissions cycle is Jan. 1. For information, see the Office of Admission website.