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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's talk about ratios, quotas, and admit rates

Every admission officer I know bristles at the mention of the word "quota". Maybe we hate it because it implies that we don't have control over our processes and that we are slaves to demographics while we read applications. During every Q&A session, every College Night panel, and every phone call, I think we all brace ourselves for that word, which usually comes in a sentence that starts with "We heard that UVa..." and ends with the name of a county or a region. We don't have quotas that specific here. We have one ratio.

The State Legislature has set a ratio that governs the in state and out of state populations at UVa. Two thirds of our students must have Virginia residency. Therefore, one third can come from outside of the state.

Beyond that, no population rules are enforced on us. Obviously, most admission offices want to bring in an interesting class that has people from many backgrounds, but we have not been handed target numbers for different regions, counties, or populations beyond that 2/3 : 1/3 ratio. There are definitely trends within the admitted group, though. For example, around one third of our Virginia population tends to come from the northern part of the state, but that area is highly populated and makes up a pretty big part of our applicant pool. There's no target for that region or any other. State legislators propose bills to change the ratio almost every year, but the bills fail each year.


Now, the ratio obviously impacts the offer rates for VA and OOS (out of state) residents. Here's a chart that shows offer rates back to 1990. On the Office of Institutional Assessment website, you can see data that goes back even further.



One thing to realize, though, is that the number of applicants jumped dramatically last year and hovers around the same number this year. This year's statistics (I'll post them when I get them, which usually happens around notification day) will probably look a little like those from 2009. Here are the stats from last year. I'm adding a "Class of 2013" to make sure those who are just skimming this know that these are last year's stats.

Total number of applications (Class of 2013): 21,839
Total number of VA apps (Class of 2013): 7,663
Total number of OOS apps (Class of 2013): 13,764

Overall offers (Class of 2013): 6,331 total offers (28.9%)
Total VA offers (Class of 2013): 3,276 offers (42.7%)
Total OOS offers (Class of 2013): 3,055 offers (22%)

Enrollment goal (Class of 2013): 3,240 first-year students

Again, the stats for the current year generally get crunched at the very end of the process. I hope to post them on the day we release decisions.


I can't tell if all this talk about statistics made CavDog serious or sleepy