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February 07, 1997 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-07

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 7, 1997

FRID"Focus

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High school seniors across the
country and around the world -re
completed college applications h
to get into their dream school. F
many students, that dream schoo
the University of Michigan.
At last count, 14,500 applications make up
the stack of undergraduate applications pil-
ing high on the desks of University admis-I
sions counselors. In the ensuing weeks after
the Feb. 1 deadline, the University's Office{
of Undergraduate Admissions will make its
final decisions on whom to welcome as the
class of 2001.
College applications go through many
hands before finally receiving an approval or
denial. Admissions standards and the
University's
ap eal have
remained con-C
stant, according
to sources rang- 19
ing from poten-
tial students to
University offi-
cials.
P e g g y
Hambrick, a
college and
career specialist
at Ferndale
High School in
Fernda le,
Mich., said she.
advises students5
to apply to three{
schools: a

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play when the admissions staff
nl sifts through the hundreds of
centy applications that come into the
o in office each day.
Spencer said 99 percent of
or the high school seniors who
apply to the University are
4 is qualified academically, but are
not necessarily competitive in
accordance to other admittance
standards.
Sharon Pierce, coordinator of
the career resource center at Lahser High
School in Bloomfield Hills, said the
University's admissions are very selective,
but not "most selective."
"It's certainly on the list," Pierce said,
comparing the University to schools such as
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and Brown University. "It's not like we have
to talk (students) into applying.
"We don't have to sell the school - it's
sold," she said.
Spencer said the admissions department
does not have
a distinct for-
mula for
accepting or
9 denying stu-
dents.
"A student
should have a
strength
somewhere,"
Spencer said.
"We have
guidelines that
give coun-
selors a whole
lot of flexibil-
ity."
Spencer
said the
department
finds itself in a
HARRIS AND MARCY McCORMIC K/Daiy fortunate posi-
tion.
"The University of Michigan is a selective
school in the sense that we have more appli-
cants than we have positions," Spencer said.
"We can afford to select the best of the qual-
ified students."
For the fall semester of 1996, 12 percent
of first-year students graduated in the top 1
percent of their class, while 35 percent grad-
uated in the top 5 percent and 61 percent fin-
ished in the top 10 percent.
Making the ight match
Spencer said the admissions staff looks at
many different aspects of applications to find
the most well-rounded students.
LSA Dean Edie Goldenberg said the
University wants "bright, interested stu-
dents" who want to work and who have the
capacity to do well at the University.
"They vary in degree of importance,"
Spencer said, adding that one very strong
quality will not make up for shortcomings in
other areas.
"A strong essay will not make up for a
weak high school performance or a test score
performance," Spencer said.
Spencer said admissions staffers generally
look for an essay that takes a risk, but what
the individual reviewer thinks of an essay
varies.
Spencer also said student that family

" d r e a
school,"

m
an

TRACEY H

institution
where they think they will probably be
accepted and a "given" school.
The University's status relative to other
national institutions varies between different
high schools.
"U of M is the dream school,"
Hambrick said, adding that some students
at Ferndale High School do not apply to
the University because they are afraid of
rejection. "(Students) hold U of M in that
high regard."
Jim Burke, a guidance counselor at East
Brunswick High School in East Brunswick,
N.J., said the University ranks among the
country's top five public institutions.
"It's like an All-American college," Burke
said, citing a good mixture of academics, ath-
letics and the arts as the main contributors to
the University's reputation. "Michigan is
also very well-rounded."
Burke said the counselors at East
Brunswick High School tell students that
college admissions counselors look for five
itemized criteria: the quality of high school
course selection, grade point average,
Standardized Aptitude Test scores, involve-
ment in extra-curricular activities, and the
college essay.
Theodore Spencer, director of the
University's Undergraduate Admissions
Office said many different factors come into

"legacy" is important, but also
will not offset academic perfor-
mance. "If you're close, (lega-
cy) could make a difference,"
Spencer said.
Spencer said the high school
courses a student chooses is
probably just as important as
the grades the student earns.
Admissions will favor the Stu- Kimber
dent who "challenged the cur- Emly
riculum," by taking Advanced Employ
Placement classes or college
prep classes.
Each admissions counselor is familiar with
specific school districts in different regions
of the country in order to provide the appli-
cants with a personal critique.
"We don't eliminate the kids who cannot
do anything about their situation," Spencer
said.
Spencer gave an example of a student who
received a 2.0 GPA and an SAT score of
1600. "There's a student who had potential,
but didn't use it," Spencer said.
Engineering first-year student Jamie Farah
said the University is competitive and stu-
dents have to use their potential.
"You can't put in the same amount of time
you put in in high school," Farah said. "You
really are on your own."
Spencer said the average University stu-
dent is a high achiever, has taken the most
challenging classes at their high school, and
has generally scored well on the SAT or the
ACT.
"They have all received very, very strong
recommendations from their (high school)
counselors," Spencer said.
Spencer said he and the other admissions
counselors are still processing applications
from the qualified pool of applicants.
"We will finish the bulk of all admissions
decisions between now and March 15.
Beginning March 15 through April 15, we
will consider the bulk of students from the
waitlist," Spencer said.
"The final number are selected from the
waitlist will depend on the number of stu-
dents we have already admitted as well as
enrollment deposit trends," he said. "We are
the office of admissions, not rejections."
The Applicant Pool
Questions concerning the
academic quality of students at California
the University arose when fig- .
ures from a report in early
January showed the number of
applications received was down /
from last year. Critics ques-
tioned whether University
admissions would have as tal-
ented a pool to choose from this
year.
Julie Peterson, director of
News and Information Services
at the University, said the gap
between the number of 1996
and 1997 applications already
has narrowed in the past week.
"(The figures) probably
won't be much up or down," Peterson said.
"It wasn't a large difference to begin with."
"The rate at which (applications) were
coming was slower than last year," said
Lincoln Faller, associate dean for undergrad-
uate education and an English professor,
explaining that this will not
necessarily indicate a drop in
applications.
"We're either going forward
or staying where we are,"
Spencer said. "Early on you
can tell that the quality is actu-
ally up."
"I think the quality of our
kids (attending the University)
has maintained the same," said
Carl Peterson, a counselor at
Forest Hills Central High
School outside of Grand
Rapids. "It's usually the 25 to
30 of our top kids."
Carl Peterson said one of

his students applied to both
the University and
Princeton University and
decided on Ann Arbor. "He
visited both places and he's
JOHN KRAFT/Daily
Potential
Interfiex student
Robert Meade
(leftI sneaks

JEANNIE SERVAAS/DadIy
y Bryant phones a potential Class of 2001 student about acceptance to the University.
res in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions called accepted students this week about their
tions to the University.

decided, for him, Michigan is a better
choice," Peterson said.
Julie Peterson said the percentage of
students who have already paid their non-
refundable enrollment deposit has gone
up 15 percent from last year at the corre-
sponding time.
Visiting students this week said the
University has a
strong academic
reputation and is Its not
also known for
other qualities. have to'r
"I think it defi-
nitely has the repu- (students)
tation of being a
good school, a solid applying.
school," said Aden h to
Pavkov, a high
school senior from
Akron, Ohio. "It
seems big with a lot soldEa
of different inter-
ests, but I like that."
C h i m e Lahse
Nwankwo, a high
school senior who
lives in Ann Arbor, said he has always want-
ed to attend the University. .
"I think (the University is) the best
school," Nwankwo said. "It's not like I came
here because I didn't get into Harvard."
Farah said the University offers many
opportunities, but improvements can be
made.
"I do have a lot of faith in the University,
otherwise I wouldn't be here," Farah said. "I
just think there is a lot of room for improve-
ment."

It
1i
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diversity the University strives to achieve.
But Hambrick differed in opinion, saying
that some Michigan residents don't get a fair
shake in admissions because of the higher
number of non-residents the University
accepts.
"Sometimes I think we're missing out on
some of our quality students because we're
taking more out-of-state
students whose creden-
like We tials aren't as strong,"
Hambrick said. "I feel
that some of our really
good students are miss-
ing out."
In contrast, Burke
e d nt said the standards for
many out-of-state stu-
dents applying to the
University are higher
than the admissions
guidelines for Michigan
residents.
haron Pierce
High School The Cost of a
Education
The University is in
danger of losing the strength of cultural and
demographic diversity, Burke said.
Burke said increasing costs of University
tuition will lower the number of non-
Michigan residents who apply because stu-
dents will choose their state school rather
than the University.
"There's a cost crisis here. I think (the
University) would lose one of its greatest
strengths," Burke said, adding that parents
will not want to pay for University costs
without getting the prestige carried by
schools like Princeton. "Middle-class people
The University attract-

Michigan

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Illinois

New York
Penn. /

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Mass.
New Jersey

ed more students from
New York than any
other state outside of
Michigan last year.
Rounding out the top
residences of students
in the Fall 1996 class
are California, Illinois,
New Jersey,
Pennsylvania,
Massachusetts and
Maryland.

Maryland

TRACEY HARRIS/Daily

Distinction and diversity
University pamphlets, presentations and
officials tout its diversity in demographics
and culture.
"We're looking at bringing students in
from diverse backgrounds," Spencer said.
"The experience outside the classroom for us
is (as) important as the one inside the class-
room."
The optional application question that asks
for a student's ethnicity helps the University
identify students, Spencer said.
"All that data is important to us to come
up with a diverse class," Spencer said.
Spencer said the quality of the student
body will not be jeopardized to satisfy diver-
sity. The most qualified students are sought
regardless of any classifications, he said.
"There's no stigma there."
The University's reputation for multicul-
turalism stretches beyond Ann Arbor - and
the state of Michigan. Burke said the
University has a good amount of cultural
diversity.
"That's one of the great strengths of
Michigan," Burke said.
He said taking demographics into consid-
eration helps the admissions staff create the

are being squeezed out of the market."
Faller said the University trys to sustain
college expenses by obtaining more money
in scholarship funds in order to lessen finan-
cial worries.
"We try to keep pace," Faller said.
Faller said Goldenberg has worked to
build scholarship funds for LSA students.
Carl Peterson said many parents urge
their children to attend the University
instead of other top private or out-of-state
colleges.
"It's still a bargain because of the quali-
ty," Carl Peterson said. "They recognize (the
University) as one of the leading universities
in the country."
Matt Mish, a high school senior from
Plymoth, Mich., was accepted to the
University and said he probably will attend
the University over his other choice,
Georgetown University.
Mish said cost and distance are important
in helping him make a final decision.
"Other than that, I haven't been to
Georgetown and I've been here." Mish
said, saying he is comfortable at the
University. "Ann Arbor is just a happen-
ing place."

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