If you are a student who was admitted to the University of Rhode Island last fall, you were one of 20,925 students who applied to begin their college education.
With each year’s class size larger than the previous, the university tackles this great number of hopeful students with a team of admissions counselors and admissions readers who have designated areas of applications to analyze. An additional six people were hired by the university for application review for a 20-week period in the winter during its busy period.
Their full-time staff includes 14 counselors, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Dr. Dean Libutti and Assistant Dean of Admissions Joanne Lynch who are part of the admissions committee, totaling 20 people reviewing the 21,000 freshman applications they have received as of March 4 for fall 2015, according to Dean of Admissions Cynthia Bonn.
Although the application period has closed, Lynch still thinks the number will increase with transfer students. Also as of March 4, the university has admitted 13,524 freshmen, although not each person who received an acceptance letter from URI will choose it as their final choice.
“We will admit approximately 75 percent of those [21,000] students,” said Bonn. “The average GPA for our admitted students this year is currently 3.52/4.0.”
In an email interview with Libutti, he said, “Our goal is to bring in a freshman class of just over 3,100 students.” Although there is no overall acceptance cap, some majors, like nursing and the six-year PharmD program are competitive and offer limited space. “We monitor trends in majors to see if we need to add extra sections of courses and faculty resources to help address unexpected student interest and demand,” Libutti said.
Each application file can vary in the length of the reviewing process. In an email correspondence with Bonn, she said a realistic average would be 15 minutes. Like most four-year universities, “URI requires at least three years of math, two years of foreign language, four years of English, two years of science, two of history/social science, etc,” said Bonn. The SAT or ACT scores are still required by URI.
Lynch said the counselors follow internal reading guidelines, and often students land in the grey area between acceptance and rejection. The review committee exists for discussion and decision for these files, and she said the most important aspect they focus on is the students’ classroom performance.
When reviewing each application, Lynch said a student’s finances do not apply in the decision making. She said they use a need-blind process where reviewers are unaware of a person’s financial needs.
“Denying a student admission is not something that we enjoy doing,” said Bonn. “However, we are not denying that applicant a college education. URI may not be the right fit for that student, but students who really want to attend college can do that if they are willing to consider other options.”