UI Includes Incomplete Applications in Acceptance Rate

The Daily Iowan
January 17, 2012

By Jordyn Reiland

The University of Iowa and fellow regent schools include the number of incomplete applications when publicizing their admissions rate. But these rates may not tell the whole story, because the rate includes applications never examined by university officials.

The UI received 18,939 first-year student applications for the fall of 2011, of which 1,775 were incomplete said Michael Barron, the director of UI Admissions.

The UI has an acceptance rate of 86 percent for Iowa residents, 82 percent for nonresidents, and 62 percent for international students, Barron said. For the fall of 2011 the UI accepted 15,061 applications.

The UI includes incomplete applications in the total, Barron said, and the university makes the numbers public to maintain transparency and inform people who think they will not get in.

“There is a reality that students apply to every college in the country but have a change in heart or decide not to go to college at all,” Barron said. “If the student takes the time to apply to the institution, it is considered an application.”

While schools differs on exactly what makes an application incomplete, common errors include missing transcripts or ACT scores.

University of Northern Iowa Director of Admissions Christie Kangas said the university also counts incomplete applications as a part of the application pool. Of the 4,666 undergraduate applications the school received for fall 2011, only 10 percent were incomplete.

“Although we can’t make an admissions decision, the student has applied,” Kangas said.

She said numbers can be misconstrued if questions regarding application totals are not asked.

Experts say though these schools may make the number of total and incomplete applications public, schools still need to be more specific on what those application numbers mean.

Steven Roy Goodman, Top Colleges educational consultant and admissions strategist, said schools need to give easier access to information on incomplete applications, accepted applications, or students put on a waiting list. These numbers, he said, would allow families and students easier decisions when looking at potential schools.

“By releasing this more detailed information, high-school students would more fully understand their chances of acceptance,” said Goodman in an email to The Daily Iowan.

Iowa State University Director of Admissions Phil Caffrey said as long as a student applies and pays the application fee, it is still considered an application. Because ISU and the UI have the same Regent Admissions Index score program for admissions, Caffrey said, the requirements are direct.

“Iowa State’s admission requirements are incredibly transparent,” Caffery said. “We deny relatively few students.”

ISU received 17,983 undergraduate applications for the fall of 2011 school year, and 1,254 applications were considered incomplete.

Caffrey said ISU’s acceptance rate for undergraduates is roughly 84 percent.

“There is no subjectivity to our requirements, so it does hurt our selectivity ratings,” he said. “Some publications use the acceptance ratings to rank universities, and that is unfortunate.”

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