April 9-22, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 7
Back Issues
IN THIS ISSUE
Pituitary Center brings life-changing treatment to thousands
Student health insurance plan
Headlines @ U.Va.
U.Va. marks the 261st birthday of its founder — Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture an Law
Aerospace institute becoming a reality in Hampton
Online applications aid admissions process
Fatton: No ray of hope for native Haiti
Grossman enters new world of responsibility
Women’s Center to honor Arizona’s trailblazing Gov. Janet Napolitano
Artist explores DNA and difference in
‘ Jefferson Suites’
Nobel Prize-winning poet
Seamus Heaney to read April 19
Roaming Rome, Wylie focuses on material and light
Online applications aid admissions process
U.Va. receives more than 15,000 applications, extends offers to 4,724 students

By Dan Heuchert

The Office of Admission has completed the Herculean task of reviewing more than 15,000 applications for its entering class — thanks in part to the applicants themselves, about three-quarters of whom made the process more efficient by applying online. On March 29, the University mailed letters inviting 4,724 students to join the Class of 2008.
Those who applied electronically, however, did not need to wait by the mailbox for word of their fate. Their decisions were available on a password-protected Web site as of 5 p.m. March 29.

This marked the first year that more than half of the admission applications were completed online, said Dean of Admission John Blackburn. Students were also encouraged to report their mid-year grades electronically, and teachers were able to submit their recommendations online.

Applying online speeds the application process by reducing the amount of data entry work that admissions staffers must perform, said Blackburn, who hinted that applying electronically may soon become mandatory unless there are extenuating circumstances that would prevent it.

The profile of those offered admission continued several trends.

Academic credentials continue to get stronger numerically, with the median scores on the SAT-1 up by 20 points over last year (to 690 verbal, 700 math, 1,390 total); the mean grade-point average up slightly from 4.05 to 4.07; and the mean class rank percentile up slightly from 95.2 to 95.3.

The total number of applicants also increased slightly, from 14,868 last year to 15,094 this year. The target enrollment for the entering class is 3,040. Those offered admission have until May 1 to respond.

Blackburn projects that once the acceptances come in, in-state enrollment will remain at about 67 percent, consistent with the levels of the past five entering classes.

The number of Hispanic-American and African-American applications increased this year, Blackburn noted. U.Va. received 629 applications from Hispanic-American students and 1,018 from African-American, up from 512 and 912 last year, respectively.

The mix of international applicants has changed. “We are disappointed that fewer students from the Middle East, particularly men, are applying, because they think they will not be able to get a visa,” Blackburn said. However, applications from other parts of the world are up.

Asked where the new applications are coming from, P. Parke Muth, senior assistant dean of admission, replied, “In a word, Korea.” South Korea has established a number of high schools designed specifically to prepare students for admission to U.S. universities. At one such school, student SAT scores average 1,458 — comparable to only the most elite U.S. schools, he noted.

Thailand is making a similar push, Muth said, with government-sponsored programs to identify and prepare its top students for study at American universities. Another new source of applications is communist China, where economic reforms have given birth to a new upper class that can afford to send its sons and daughters to foreign universities (where they receive no financial aid). Six years ago, U.Va. received no applications from China; this year, there were about 30, Muth said.
Non-U.S. citizens make up 7.9 percent of the undergraduate student body this year.

In December, the University accepted an additional 943 students into the Class of 2008 as part of the early-decision program, under which students agree to attend the University, if accepted, in exchange for early action on their applications.


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