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For Those on the Fence

By Beth Anne Spacht

January 6, 2016

The start of January brings my colleagues and me to a critical crossroad in the admission cycle; the past months of intense travel and preparation for the Class of 2020 are more or less behind us, and the formerly far-flung reality of weeks and weeks of application review (we call this “reading season”) is suddenly, fully, and unequivocally upon us.

The professional challenge for Admission Officers at the start of a new year isn’t just digging deep to review all application files by April 1. It’s the knowledge that, with an application deadline of January 15th, there are still students we’ve gotten to know and appreciate who have not yet applied to Richmond. And that, to me, is not so much a crossroad, as it is a colossal impasse.

For those of you rounding out your college lists, still making decisions on where to apply, I know there’s not much I can do or say at this point to get Richmond definitively added to your list. But with a few days left until January 15th, a new year deserves a new attempt to show you why Richmond just might be the very place you belong.

So, why should you apply to Richmond?  One simple contrast: intention vs. results.

The new calendar year always gets me thinking about the concept of New Year’s resolutions; the (typically fleeting) intention to better ourselves in some way in the year to come. Each January, roughly one in three Americans make a resolution. Six months later, less than half are still on target towards their goal.  Perhaps the high rate of failure directly correlates to the creation of goals with short term effects, rather than long-lasting transformations. Now as to how this relates to UR…

Simply put, when setting our University’s institutional goals, Richmond doesn’t stop at the “intent” to make this the best place possible for our students.  Richmond resolves to give you results – the best and brightest of what it has to offer from start to finish.  It’s not just the gorgeous facilities, the great financial aid, and the dedicated professors. It’s not just the way we support our students when they leave our campus community to study abroad, intern across the globe, or research around the world. It’s not just saying that every student has access to every opportunity – it’s having the gumption to guarantee it.

In his recent inauguration speech, our University President, Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher, said it best:

“To our students: You have probably heard many times that you are at the heart of all that we do. Indeed, it may sound too obvious or even cliché to say aloud, but let me try for a moment to break through the platitudes and convey to you just how deeply our interest in you, not just collectively, but each and every one of you as individuals, guides all we have done and will do in the coming years.”

The University of Richmond’s student-first mission means that you, as a Spider, do not have to sacrifice short term happiness for long-term success.  And truly, the results speak for themselves:

  • In summer 2015, more than 500 students received fellowships to support internship and research opportunities, totaling nearly $2 million. Fellowship recipients represent all of the University's academic offerings, including: business; humanities and arts; languages and literature; leadership studies; math and science; and social sciences.  The average award granted was $3,543
  • Richmond is one of only two institutions in Virginia that is both need-blind in the admission process and promises to meet 100% of every student’s demonstrated need. If you apply now, you’ll also be considered for our Presidential Scholarship, equal to 1/3 of tuition, renewable all 4 years. Not only that, but 97% of the Class of 2014 was employed, in graduate school, or pursuing service-minded activities like the Peace Corps or Teach for America within one year of graduation; the average salary range 5 years after graduation is $65,000-$69,999.
  • Access to the Office of Alumni & Career services doesn’t disappear after graduation. With a global network of over 50,000 alumni, becoming a Richmond Spider means you’re instantly connected to a long legacy of successful contributors like Leland Melvin, former NFL wide receiver and current NASA astronaut/engineer (I just saw him on campus a few months ago); Josh Abramson, co-founder of CollegeHumor, who gave a talk on campus this past October; New York Times best-selling author, Kelly Corrigan, who had this to say about her experiences as an English major at Richmond during a recent book reading at her alma mater:


"I loved my courses at UR. The small classes, the long discussions, the totally accessible teachers like Dr. Steven Barza, who not only helped me when I was enrolled but many years after when I had started the book that became Glitter and Glue. He took me seriously. That's big. A real Ph.D. who doesn't think your writing is a joke. I lived on that for many years."

All that’s to say, our alumni aren’t in the distant shadows of a University they attended many years before. They are active contributors, volunteers, entrepreneurs, internship sponsors, and excited advocates of you and your success in this community. And don’t just take my word for it. Ask our current students. You’ll find over 50% of them featured somewhere on our website, sharing their own stories of how they’ve achieved with the help and support of UR.

This New Year, I ask you to make a commitment to your future. Take a leap over writer’s block, cross over into Common App, and submit an application to Richmond. Set a deadline for January 15th, knowing that it’s one goal you’ll make this year with the potential to yield a lifetime of results. If you apply and are accepted to Richmond, you’ll start a relationship that will transform you into a better version of yourself, one small success at a time.

Tags: Why Richmond?

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Senior Assistant Director of Admission 


A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom


Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Assistant Director of Admission


Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.

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