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Admission changes to affect entering students

Admission changes to affect entering students

Thomas Columbus April 16, 2020

The college admission process is changing substantially in the wake of policy changes made last fall by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

The most significant change, according to Jason Reinoehl, vice president, strategic enrollment management, was to eliminate the practice of colleges after May 1 not recruiting high school students who had committed elsewhere. That practice allowed colleges to establish a timeline, Reinoehl said, and to make more accurate predictions of their fall entering classes.

But now colleges can compete year-round. “The recruiting cycle previously was August to May,” he said. “Now it’s year-round. This requires us to re-think every aspect of admission and also makes budgeting and planning more difficult.”

A second change lessened restraints on incentives. Prospective students may now be getting pitches from some schools to decide early in order to receive benefits such as preferred housing. “Now every week,” Reinoehl said, “a high school student may get new offers, and repeated messages about new features.”

The third policy affects transfer students. Previously, schools welcomed transfer students but did not actively recruit them. Now they can.

Colleges saw the previous policies, Reinoehl explained, as a way of helping families have certainty about their college decision making. The U.S. Department of Justice, however, was concerned that the practices might reduce competition.

To support incoming students and families through these significant changes, UD has developed a new approach to summer that more smoothly transitions students to the University and provides opportunities for alumni to welcome them as new members of their Flyer family.

Housing selection for first-years will start in March rather than in July. One advantage of this for students, Reinoehl said, will be the opportunity to gain an “earlier sense of belonging. Students can develop rapport with their roommates earlier.”

Entering students will attend summer orientations specific to their academic units; these will begin in June and replace much of what occurred immediately before classes in August. “Academic advising will begin earlier,” Reinoehl said, “and families will have more time to make plans before the last minute. Traditions like move-in and welcome programming will continue to provide warm Flyer introductions to students in the fall.”

The summer welcome events traditionally hosted by alumni will also undergo a bit of a change. The new on-campus summer orientations eliminate the need for these welcome events to include as much formal presentation as they have in the past. “The alumni welcome events will be less formal; there will be more opportunities to socialize and for families to get to know their UD family,” Reinoehl said.

Also related to the changes in the admission process are plans for more involvement by alumni in sharing with prospective students about their own experiences and love for UD.

“Several alumni volunteer initiatives are being piloted this year and all alumni will have the opportunity to participate in the future,” Reinoehl said. “Like all things at UD, we continue to envision the way our community will rally to support, advise and welcome the newest members of our UD family in the wake of a more complex national landscape for admission.” 

A snapshot of students on campus