By the University of Rhode Island’s regular decision deadline for college applications of Feb. 1, over 22,000 applications from prospective students had been received.
URI received nearly 60 percent of their admissions applications by the early action deadline on Dec. 1. Approximately 13,200 students applied by the deadline.
The Office of Admissions reviews applications primarily on a geographical basis, splitting the 22,000 applications between an office of 22 people. However, the Doctor of Pharmacy program applications are read by one specific admissions officer and international applications are read by the international team.
The Dean of Admissions, Cynthia Bonn, is the leader of the team that reviews all applications and makes admittance decisions.
“The number one factor in qualifying for admission is their academic performance in high school, including the rigor of their courses,” Bonn said. “How much did the students challenge himself or herself, did they have a solid college preparatory program? It’s important that we feel the student has appropriately challenged themselves.”
The Office of Admissions conducts a holistic review of student applicants, reviewing test scores, course rigor and more.
“We read the essay, students don’t write that for nothing, so we do read the essay,” Bonn said. “We read the letters of recommendation and so those all come into play as well, but, again, the most important thing is what kind of student [have they] been?”
URI has an acceptance rate of approximately 70 percent, placing it in the “selective” pool of colleges, according to the Office of Admissions.
The Office of Admissions typically accepts 16,000 applicants to achieve a freshmen class of 3,200 students. This consists of 51 percent of students being in-state and 49 percent of students being out-of-state.
With an increasing number of colleges struggling to maintain students, URI has remained fairly consistent in their application numbers over the years, according to Bonn. She added that this year’s statistics are not far behind those of last year.
“We’re always looking to increase and try and find ways to do that, but for now, we feel pretty good about where we stand this year, certainly with our ability to bring in the next class, we’re feeling really good about that,” Bonn said.
The admissions cycle is approximately a year-and-a-half long. In the spring through the fall, admissions attends college fairs to attract high school juniors. Once the travel season is completed in the late fall, the team begins reading applications mid-December until mid-March and starts the acceptance process.
On-campus visits are held for prospective students through tours, accepted students day and “Like a Ram Days.” Electronic recruiting is maintained through email blasts and website interactions all year long.
“We may have 40,000 names at any given time in our system for prospective students,” Bonn said. “Forty-thousand to 50,000 names of students who are interested in enrolling. We can reach out to them with well-timed and well-placed emails.”
Bonn speaks to many students throughout the admission season and acceptance season and sees many different reasons as to why students chose URI.
“Sometimes it’s program-specific, ‘Oh it’s your fabulous engineering program,’ or ‘Oh it’s your music program,’ or it’s PharmD or Marine Biology or the Harrington School,” Bonn said. “So, sometimes it is major specific, but often it’s about the way they felt when they visited campus. And what I hear quite often from students and families that visited is that it’s the friendliest campus they’ve been to.”
Freshmen student Ella Romano attests to the likability of the University.
“Anything you need is basically on-campus,” Romano said. “URI’s very safe and it’s all close together and I like that it’s walkable. When I visited, it seemed so big and scary because I didn’t know the area, but now it’s like home.”
The Office of Admissions is currently working on reviewing the applications submitted by the regular decision deadline. The regular decision deadline is preferred, but URI expects to see a few hundred more applications before national decision day.