Now is the time of year that many programs are starting to review applications for the coming academic year. As review committees begin their evaluations and make decisions to extend offers for Fall 2021, it is important to consider several factors from this past year that may affect decisions for the coming year.
For example, the pandemic and changes in visa regulation and availability may have impacted AY 20-21 enrollment in your program. While graduate enrollment increased overall so did the number of deferrals, especially by international students intending to pursue master’s degrees. Many prospective students will have unorthodox academic profiles due to alternative grading options implemented by their universities during COVID, others may not have had access to standardized tests such as the GRE. Below are some questions to consider when making admissions decisions for your program.
Do you know if your deferred students intend to enroll?
If your program has students who have deferred, reach out to those deferred applicants to foster your connection with them and increase the likelihood that they will enroll. Prospective and newly admitted students want to connect especially with faculty. And you will want to know how many of your deferred applicants intend to enroll in a future term.
What is your program’s capacity?
If you have deferrals who will begin their studies in the fall, can your program accommodate a larger than usual cohort or will you extend fewer offers? Likewise, if you have offered funding to an applicant who deferred, be sure funding is still available. If you will make fewer offers, how will you adjust your evaluation process to increase your selectivity? No matter what the right choice is for your program, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared to accommodate the size of your incoming class and have a fair and equitable evaluation process.
How will you evaluate transcripts with pass/no pass or credit/no credit grades?
Due to the pandemic, you are likely to see more transcripts from applicants that use alternative grading options such as pass/no pass or credit/no credit. The Graduate College supports holistic admission practices that do not penalize students for adoption of alternative grading options.
Will you require GRE scores?
If your program uses GRE scores in its admission process, be aware that many students may not have been able to take the GRE. In order to avoid disadvantaging applicants who could not take the test, you may want to consider making it optional or not requiring it. The GRE is not required by the Graduate College. Whether or not to use the GRE as part of the admissions process is the decision of individual programs.
Please see additional COVID-19 related information for applicants and newly admitted students on the Graduate College website.