I am writing in response to Chris Repas' piece in which he expresses concern regarding changing SAT scores at the University of Richmond.
Admission to the University of Richmond is highly selective. This year, we received over 8,600 applications for a first-year class of approximately 815 students. Nearly 10 students were vying for every spot. The admit rate for the class dropped by six percentage points, pointing to the competitiveness of the admissions process as more and more students desire a Richmond education.
Certainly, many organizations use standardized testing to get a sense of the competitiveness of an applicant pool. Thus, I will take this opportunity to provide accurate SAT scores for the enrolling classes. The fall 2007 first-year class provided Critical Reading and Math Scores in the 25-75% range of 1210-1350. While there have been some changes over the years, the scores for the fall 2010 first-year class are 1210-1360, slightly ahead of Chris's class that entered four years ago. This year's class also competed against over 2,000 additional applicants to gain admission to Richmond, as applications have grown 30% since 2007.
Chris questions whether or not Richmond continues to compete with other "high profile schools." I am happy to put those concerns to rest. Based on results from a national survey, we know that students admitted to Richmond this year applied to nine other colleges, on average, and were admitted to six or seven schools. The top twenty "overlap" colleges in order of applications submitted demonstrates the competitiveness of Richmond admissions; students, admitted to UR, also applied to UVa, William and Mary, Boston College, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, Princeton, Villanova, Brown, Cornell, Washington & Lee, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Elon, Dartmouth, Washington University in St. Louis, Emory, and Bucknell.
While standardized test scores and competitor applications tell part of the story, this year's record-breaking applicant pool was talented in many ways. Through a holistic review process, the admission staff gains a full sense of each applicant. Our greatest emphasis is put on the high school transcript. We look for students who have challenged themselves with the most demanding curriculum available and who have done well in highly competitive courses. We then carefully review standardized testing, which allows us to compare students from high schools across the nation and the world. Other key credentials - the clarity and sophistication of the essay, letters of reference from teachers and counselors, and co-curricular activities have particular meaning for our admission committee. We pride ourselves on the fact that no single factor is the basis for an admission decision. Rather, we make an assessment of the student's ability to both contribute to and benefit from a Richmond education.
We are fortunate to have a strong applicant pool that allows us to enroll a class comprised of students who will certainly thrive at Richmond. We look forward to watching these individuals grow and develop and are eager to see the contributions that they will make both as students and alumni.
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