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Regular Decision Admission and Merit Scholarships

By Tom Nicholas

March 20, 2018

On Friday, Regular Decision letters left the Office of Admission, en route to thousands of applicants waiting to hear from us in our final round of admission for the year.

This year’s applicant pool was both the largest and most qualified in Richmond’s history. Altogether, we received over 11,800 applications — a record high, and an 18% increase from last year. And while it’s difficult to quantify all of the ways in which this pool was exceptionally qualified — its breadth of talent and diversity, the strength of applicants’ grades and curricula, etc. — one simple numeric indicator is standardized testing: the average SAT score for the entire applicant pool rose 45 points over last year, and the average ACT score for the applicant pool was a full point higher.

Students admitted — not just in Regular Decision, but in the Early Action and Early Decision rounds as well — are to be commended on their extraordinary accomplishment. The New Spiders website is your one-stop shop for everything that comes next, from admitted student open houses (we hope to see you on campus soon!) to the day you arrive for orientation in August.

Students offered a place on the wait list are, by and large, equally qualified and talented students, whom we would love to admit but simply didn’t have the space to accommodate. We’ll post later this week with some insight into the wait list process; for now, I’ll just note that the single most important thing for interested students to do is to reply to our offer by filling out the wait list response form.

Our final Presidential Scholarship offers for the year were sent within select Regular Decision admission packets; and, since the Richmond Scholars program recently notified recipients, this means all of our major four-year merit scholarships have been awarded (a few smaller scholarships, such as the Bonner Scholars program, are still outstanding). Just as competition for admission was particularly strong this year, competition for our merit scholarships was exponentially greater. While Richmond is pleased to award a variety of merit scholarships, keep in mind that our offers are concentrated in a smaller number of larger-value awards (the smallest are one-third tuition, the largest full-ride). We don’t award merit scholarships to large swaths of our applicants; approximately 1 in 9 students on campus has a merit scholarship.

We sometimes hear from students who aren’t concerned so much with finances (in some cases, for example, they’ve received a substantial need-based aid offer from us), but who feel that the lack of a merit scholarship means Richmond “isn’t really interested in me.” And with some colleges out there awarding as many as 70% or even 90% of their admitted students some form of small merit scholarship, this feeling is understandable. But Richmond is a relatively small, highly selective college where we don’t have the space to accommodate thousands of well-qualified applicants for admission, much less merit scholarship, each year. So if you’re feeling that way, allow me to be blunt: your admission to Richmond, especially in this extraordinarily competitive year, is the single greatest reflection of our sincere desire for you to enroll in our class.

And you can rest assured that Richmond will afford you a breadth of educational, experiential, and career opportunities — funding included — in ways that few colleges do. We'll explore these opportunities more deeply in an upcoming blog post.

Congratulations to the admitted class of 2022!

Tags: Application Process Financial Aid/Scholarships Inside the Admission Office

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Associate 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.

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Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Senior 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

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