For most UR students, the horrors of the college application process have faded to merely a distant, repressed memory — frenetic campus tours, anxiety-ridden SAT attempts, late night application cramming sessions and the purgatory-like month of March spent nervously waiting for acceptance letters.
For the 5,023 students newly admitted to UR’s Class of 2015, such tribulations have safely come to a close.
According to Jonathan Burdick, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at UR, despite 15,000 applicants vying for spaces, UR was forced to enroll a slightly smaller incoming class due to pending housing renovations on the River Campus, which will constrict space. Coupled with an 8 percent increase in applications, this led to one of the most selective admission rates in the history of UR — 33 percent.
“The goal is for a slight reversal — the Class of 2015 is supposed to be a little smaller than the Class of 2014,” Burdick explained. “We’ve had a recent history of exceeding our enrollment targets, however, so whether or not we have succeeded in reducing the class size won’t be known for another several weeks. If recent trends continue this year, we may have the biggest class in UR history.”
The admitted students will represent all 50 states and more than 50 countries, with a larger number coming from beyond the Northeast and New York State areas this year. It is anticipated that 15 percent of those who enroll will be international students, from countries such as China, India, Korea, Canada and Jamaica, due to an increase in both international applications and admission offers relative to 2014 statistics.
“In most respects, this class will represent a positive continuation and acceleration of desirable trends rather than a dramatic difference,” Burdick said. “Along with our usual strong showing among the medicinally and musically-inclined, the share [of students] with an early and defined interest in other professional disciplines — education, business, and engineering — has grown too, as it has for several years in a row.
“The class will be smarter than ever, if you believe that test scores and grades demonstrate smartness, and more diverse than ever, if you believe that people coming from a wider variety of cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds bring diverse perspectives.”
The emphasis on diversity has been reflected in the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), which is designed to serve students of various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds whose economic situations may have otherwise precluded their attendance of UR.
“Getting into HEOP was definitely a huge factor in my decision to choose UR,” said incoming freshman Chelsea Vargas, of Washington Heights, N.Y., who plans to major in electrical engineering. “I applied to 12 other schools, including RPI, RIT, Lafayette, Carnegie Mellon and Hartford, but after not getting into RPI, my top choice, I ended up choosing UR because of its great engineering program.”
Incoming freshman Brie Ostreicher, of Westhampton Beach, N.Y., who plans to major in psychology, cited her early decision application to UR as a major source of stress relief.
“I’ve known where I will be going since December, instead of April or May, which has definitely made things easier,” she said. “As for competition, since I was the only person in my grade to apply early decision to UR, I didn’t really feel the competition as much as some others may have.”
Ostreicher, who will have taken seven AP courses by the end of her senior year, in addition to a full load of other honors or college credit courses, has throughout her high school career maintained a 3.7 GPA, played on the tennis, lacrosse and softball teams, served as the secretary of Art Club for two years and volunteered five hours per week on a teen-help website.
She plans to use her degree to become a substance abuse counselor in a hospital or rehab setting and said that she applied to UR in part because she “wanted to go to a good school that gave students both freedom and endless opportunities.”
Anna Saltman, of Brooklyn, N.Y., concurred, saying that her decision to apply early decision to UR enabled her to “relax and feel confident when everyone else was hearing back from schools.”
Saltman, whose mother attended UR, is planning to major in biology on the pre-med route, minor in studio art and continue her 14-year dedication to soccer as a member of UR’s soccer team.
She also expressed her attraction to “the university size with the feel of a liberal arts college” vibe of UR.
With an average GPA of 3.94 and average test scores in the 95th percentile among all college-bound students, Burdick expressed his feeling that the Class of 2015 is “well-qualified for success at Rochester” and anticipates “welcoming hundreds of well-qualified students.”
Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.