Jan 15, 2015

Applications to UVa down slightly for the Class of 2019

University of Virginia

After a series of record-breaking years, applications are down for the University of Virginia’s Class of 2019.

Although final numbers won’t be available until February, the preliminary count shows that 31,107 students completed applications by the January 1 deadline this year, as compared with 31,336 for last year.

The majority of UVa’s applications—16,187—were submitted for nonbinding early action consideration.  Under this plan, students who applied by November 1 can expect to receive a decision by January 31. The balance of the applications came in November and December.

While not particularly concerned about the small decrease in applications, the reasons behind the drop in applicants have been a source of speculation.

It could be a question of demographics.  The overall “quantity” of high school graduates has been going down nationally over the past several years.  In fact, Virginia has experienced three consecutive years of declining numbers of high school diploma graduates—from 90,391 (including GED’s) in 2011-12 to 88,131 in 2012-14, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

Or it could be the message conveyed by the label “public ivy,” reinforced by a traveling recruitment activity with Yale, Harvard, and Princeton and an out-of-state tuition cost that is the highest in the nation.

Or it may be all the bad publicity, capped by a discredited article published by Rolling Stone Magazine, which appeared shortly after early applications were submitted.  From the conflict between the Board of Visitors and President Sullivan to the shocking abduction and murder of an undergraduate to lingering news reports involving a grisly on-campus murder to ongoing issues involving fraternity behavior, it’s not been a good year or two for Virginia’s flagship university.

Regardless, UVa still has thousands of high school students anxious to earn spots in the Class of 2019.  And despite enrollment issues left over from last year, many are hoping that the admissions office will resist the temptation to over manage the process by cutting back on early admits and using the wait list to protect yield.

Virginia gives itself until the last day of January to release early action decisions.  If the past is any indicator, however, applicants may be hearing sooner rather than later in the next two weeks.

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