The University of Richmond’s acceptance rate for the class of 2026 plummeted to a record-low of just over 24%.
The rate represents a drop of over 4% from last year and falls even lower than the class of 2023’s record of 28%, according to UR’s Fact Book.
While the number of applicants reached an all-time high of 14,364 in 2022, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ goal to enroll 820 to 830 first-year students remained the same, admissions director Rebecca Buffington wrote in an email to The Collegian.
Despite UR’s increased selectivity, the class of 2026’s yield rate — the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll — and overall demographic profile remained consistent when compared to previous years, according to UR’s Fact Book and the class of 2026 student profile. Of the 851 enrolled first-years, 14% were admitted through regular decision, 41% early decision, 44% early action and 1% from the waitlist.
The declining admissions rate is part of a national trend as several other schools also reported record-low acceptance rates for the class of 2026 including Tufts University, Boston College, University of Virginia and Wesleyan University. In addition, three of the most competitive schools for the class of 2026 also reported a drop in acceptance rates: Harvard University hit a new all-time low at just 3.19%, Columbia University hit 3.73% and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropped to 3.9%. But when compared to other universities in Virginia, UR is one of the most selective.
UR is also not the only school with a rise in applicants; there was a 21.3% increase in the number of Common App applications submitted to colleges across the country between 2019-20 and 2021-22, according to a March 2022 Common App report.
While the number of applications submitted has steadily increased over the past several years, that figure spiked as a result of more schools — including UR — implementing test-optional policies, according to a U.S. News and World Report article. Test-optional policies give students who may be qualified, but not have the financial resources to take standardized tests better, opportunities to be considered for more selective schools, according to the article.
There was also a rise in the number of schools students applied to between 2019-20 and 2021-22, according to the Common App report. This is because as the college admissions process becomes more accessible and competitive, students will feel encouraged to apply to more schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.
This was the case for first-year Anais Ngako, who said a school’s standardized testing policy played a significant role in her decision to apply.
“It was better because I could put more into my personal essay and other things that showed more about me as a student instead of just a test, ”she said.
Even as more students apply to UR each year, the number of applications the admissions office receives does not affect admissions directors’ approach to reviewing applications, Buffington wrote.
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First-year Sean Herndon applied regular decision to UR and said he was surprised when he saw how just 14% of his peers were admitted through that process and how much UR’s acceptance had dropped.
“When I was applying, I did a basic Google search and knew UR had around a 29% or 30% acceptance rate,” Herndon said. “But then I looked again and was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize our acceptance rate was that low.’”
Contact news writer Katie Castellani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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