Reinventing Virginia Tech Admissions
College admissions is a process that constantly changes to meet the needs and expectations of students. To better serve our incoming student population, Virginia Tech is offering new tools to applicants.
Why are we making these changes?
Our office of undergraduate admissions recognizes the stresses associated with the college search process and wants to make this a more positive experience. We as an office have looked at the college application process from start to finish, and have identified many barriers students are likely to encounter. We made every effort to remove these barriers to ensure our application process is more accessible and open. We hope to reduce any anxiety associated with this process while identifying strengths that match our core values.
A new college application
Virginia Tech is partnering with the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success to provide a better student experience. Coalition provides income-based waivers and college planning tools, and has developed an application portal adopted by many universities around the country. Students can create a login and use the Coalition website as a center point for storing materials to send to colleges, easily distributed to schools that participate.
A new self-reported academic record (SRAR)
The Virginia Tech application will also feature an easier, self-reported transcript that should be good news for both students and counselors. Now, a student can sign in to the SRAR portal, navigate to a pre-populated list of classes that match their schedule, and report their grades. Grades and scores will be verified with official documents after an admissions offer is made.
A more robust holistic review
Students are more than their grades and test scores. Personal experiences create unique strengths and abilities in each applicant, adding value to their contributions. With a series of essay questions, the Virginia Tech application provides space for students to demonstrate how these life experiences make them the person they are. This narrative will help application reviewers realize an applicant’s potential to thrive.
A new application deadline
For several years, Virginia Tech has offered Early Decision and Regular Decision as application deadlines. Early Decision is binding (meaning a student must accept their offer if given) and Regular Decision is not. For the 2018-2019 decision cycle, there will also be a third option: Early Action. The deadline for Early Action (December 1) will fall between Early Decision (November 1) and Regular Decision (January 15) and will be non-binding. Early Action provides an earlier offer response for students, giving more time to make the decision about whether or not to accept. Especially for students who may be considering multiple colleges, this allows two additional months of consideration time when compared to previous years.
A better picture of cost, a new way to get money for college
This year, Virginia Tech is partnering with Raise.Me to provide students with a better idea of their college costs and a pathway toward more financial aid.
At Virginia high schools where more than half of the student body is enrolled in free or reduced lunch, a new type of scholarship called a micro-scholarship is now available. For students at these schools who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a 3.2 or higher GPA, $3000 per year can be earned toward college, starting with the freshman year in high school. Money is given in small increments throughout the high school years for things like good grades, community service, leadership roles, honors, and more. A 3.2 GPA must be maintained, and the student must fill out the FAFSA when applying to college.
The cost calculator is available to all students. Using this tool, students can see what their actual costs may be based on their family's income.
Hopefully, these tools will create a much more robust set of options for students. Applying to college can be a foreboding experience, and Virginia Tech Admissions wishes to make it possible for students of all backgrounds to participate. By changing the face of our process, it is our aspiration to create a more accessible, enriching experience for students from all walks of life.