March 29, 2012 — When the Class of 2016 arrives on Grounds in August, its members will likely be the best-qualified first-year students in the University of Virginia's history.
Those who logged in Friday and received offers of admission, along with classmates who were admitted in January under the new "early action" program, average a combined score of 1,396 points (of a possible 1,600) on the math and verbal sections of the SAT, and 95.7 percent rank in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. Those scores are the highest ever, and compare with last year's admitted applicants' marks of 1,380 and 94 percent, respectively.
In total, U.Va. extended 7,759 offers of admission, with a goal of enrolling 3,360 students this fall.
"Year after year, the University attracts some of the brightest young people from Virginia, the rest of the nation, and all over the world, and this year's admitted students are no exception," University President Teresa A. Sullivan said. "We look forward to welcoming many of these students to the Grounds next fall."
This was the first year of U.Va.'s early action plan, which allowed applicants who applied by Nov. 1 to receive a decision by the end of January. The result was a record pool of 28,274 applicants between the early action and regular admissions pools, an 18 percent increase over last year and 52 percent more than applied to U.Va. just five years ago.
On Jan. 20, admission offers went to 3,187 early applicants. Another 3,100 were deferred to the "regular" admissions process; of those, 672 were offered admission on Friday.
About 16 percent of all applicants were placed on the waiting list – about the same as last year, according to Gregory W. Roberts, U.Va.'s dean of admission.
Admissions officers read and evaluated applications almost nonstop from Nov. 1 until mid-March. "I'm proud of our staff being able to manage the application process as well as we did, and we're all very excited about the incredible class that will be coming to Charlottesville in August," Roberts said. "While these students presented outstanding academic credentials, it was often their creativity and passion for learning and willingness to take academic risks that distinguished them in our competitive evaluation process."
Those who were offered admission, both during the early and regular cycles, have until May 1 to make a deposit and secure their place in the entering class. Before then, five "Days on the Lawn" programs are being held for admitted students to help them further familiarize themselves with the University.
Financial aid packages started going out last week to students admitted in the early action cycle, and financial aid applicants admitted under the regular cycle will begin receiving their aid packages this week, said Yvonne Hubbard, director of Student Financial Services. All students who have submitted the required documents should receive a preliminary financial aid package by the middle of April, she said. More information about financial aid decisions is available online.
U.Va. hosted a "Day on the Lawn" earlier this month for admitted early-action students. Those students also received letters from Sullivan and U.Va. deans, were invited to chat with current students and got e-mails introducing them to U.Va. life and current students.
The most difficult program to get into was the new four-year kinesiology program being offered by the Curry School of Education, which had an 11 percent offer rate to fill its 26 spots. The School of Nursing was able to make offers to just 17 percent of its applicants, while about 28 percent of applicants to the School of Architecture and College of Arts & Sciences received offers.
There was a large increase in applications to the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and as a result, the offer rate dropped to 34 percent from 44 percent a year ago, Roberts said.
The University offered admission to 762 international students from 102 countries. Roberts said each year the enrolling class includes students with diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of talents and interests.
The University also extended offers to top students identified in the admissions process as candidates for three honors programs. Some 987 applicants were offered places in the College's Echols Scholars program; 116 students were offered a place in the College Science Scholars program; and 159 students were offered a place in the Engineering School's Rodman Scholars program.
Students nominated for the University's most prestigious honors program, the Jefferson Scholars, participated in the annual selection weekend, which ended Sunday with 45 students being offered four-year scholarships that cover the full cost of attending the University.
— by Dan Heuchert