University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

Inside the student union building

Plenty of green spaces and brick buildings

Admissions building

Basics – The University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware is a Tier 1 research university. It has 16,000 undergraduates and 3400 graduate students. There are students from all 50 states and 100 countries. 35% of these students are from Delaware. New Jersey sends the most students, after Delaware. Housing is guaranteed all four years for students who enter as freshmen. The campus is physically large, covering 1,241 acres.

Academics – Class sizes vary with 62% of classes having 25 or fewer students, 24% having 26 – 50 students, 10% having 51- 100 students, and 4% having more than 100 students. In the 7 colleges, there are over 145 majors and 100 minors.

450 students in the freshman class, including my tour guide who hailed from Georgia, are part of the Honors program. Students applying for the Honors program need to write an additional essay as part of their application. These students take many honors classes, which are capped at 25 students, and have honors housing.

The University of Delaware has had study abroad since 1923. The school is on a 4-1-4 calendar so students can study abroad for a full semester or during the optional 5-week winter session.

Summer scholars have an opportunity to do research over the summer while receiving a $3,000 stipend.

Extracurricular activities – There are over 300 student organizations; Division I athletics, including football; 32 club teams, hundreds of intramural teams, and Greek life, with 20% of students going Greek. The main drag outside of campus is full of restaurants, stores, and students.

What’s New – There are a number of construction projects on campus that are near completion. The following are slated to open in the Fall: a new freshman residence hall that will house 767 students, a 194,000-square-foot Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Lab, and a renovated and largely-expanded sports building.

Applications and Financial Aid – The admissions office looks at the applications holistically. They evaluate each student’s core classes, look at the SAT (all three sections) and/or the ACT (which they superscore). They consider how well prepared students are for their major (i.e., did you take honors or AP classes in the area of your planned major). The University of Delaware uses the Common Application. They are looking for recommendations from your high school counselor and one teacher. They offer optional, evaluative interviews to high school students between June of the junior year and Thanksgiving of the senior year of high school. The University of Delaware offers both need-based and merit aid, with merit aid ranging from $1000 up to a full ride.

If you are a student at the University of Delaware, what do you like most and least about the school?

College Trends and Hot Topics – Part 2

The panel of admissions personnel at the Higher Education Consultants Association Conference discussed “What intangible factors make a student stand out?”

Chris Hooker-Haring, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Muhlenberg College, valued energy, sustained commitment, intellectual curiosity, and authenticity.

Lou Hirsch, Director of Admissions at the University of Delaware, indicated that he didn’t expect applicants to be Olympic Gold Medalists.  He wanted to know who the student is and how did he get that way.  He wants to learn how the student’s activities shaped them.  When the letters of recommendation and student’s essays mesh, he found it compelling.

Mark Spencer, Director of Admissions  at Brandeis University, said that admissions officers sometimes have a bias.  If the admissions officer feels connected to the student because of their story, that student had an advantage.

Brian Estrada, Director of Admissions at Dartmouth College, talked about valuing students who are open to learning from others, as well as students who others can learn from.  Dartmouth College considers moral development and peer recommendations.

Courtney McAnuff, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Rutgers University, said the Rutgers admissions office does not see race, gender or high school when evaluating applications.  Rutgers University is concerned about how students work with diverse situations and want to have a well-rounded class. 

What intangible factors do you think make a student stand out?

College Trends and Hot Topics – Part 1

I attended the Higher Education Consultants Association Conference this week.  Here’s what’s happening in college admissions, according to key admissions personnel who participated in a panel entitled “College Trends and Hot Topics: Admissions 2012.”

Courtney McAnuff, Vice President of Enrollment Management for Rutgers University indicated that he was looking at a proposal to merge UMDNJ with Rutgers, which now seems likely. He was also looking into the merger of Rowan and Rutgers Camden. The size of the Rutgers freshmen class will be reduced for the next three years, because retention is up.

Brian Estrada, Director of Admissions at Dartmouth College said, with the April nomination of their college president to lead the World Bank, Dartmouth is looking for a new college president. This year Dartmouth had 23,000 applicants and accepted 2200 of them. 1104 students will be attending, and Dartmouth may accept 5 more students from the wait list.

Mark Spencer, Director of Admissions at Brandeis University said parents are becoming more concerned about college costs. This year a lower percent of students stayed on the wait list and a lower percent of students are accepting a spot off of the wait list.

Lou Hirsch, Director of Admissions at the University of Delaware indicated that his school had the same situation with the wait list as Brandeis. Parents seemed more concerned with college cost and “have gotten over if their child doesn’t get into their first choice school.”

Chris Hooker-Haring, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Muhlenberg College told the independent counselors that Muhlenberg had over 5000 applicants this year. They admitted about 50% of their incoming class through Early Decision. It took longer to get to their target class size this spring and there were more conversations with parents about money and value.

In a future blog post, I will cover the panel’s input on college essays, gender imbalance at college, how high school students should spend the summer, college interviews, college use of social media, and spring admits.