If This Doesn’t Get You Admitted to UVa, What Will?

@schooloflimmy

did you get them right? #collegeapps #collegeadmissions

♬ original sound – Limmy 💛

The producer of The School of Limmy, a Korean-American neuroscience major at Duke University, posts short videos about colleges admissions on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. One of his schticks is reading the qualifications of student applicants and listing the colleges that accepted and rejected them.

The applicant described in the video above was valedictorian of his class, scored perfectly on the ACT exams and 155o on the SAT, took several AP and Honors courses, had a 4.7755 grade point average, was captain of the lacrosse team, wrestled, ran cross country, was a Boy Scout troop leader, was a youth council leader, served on student council, and belonged to a math club… which he founded.

The applicant was accepted to eight universities, including Princeton and Washington & Lee University (which he ended up attending), but was rejected from several others… including the University of Virginia.

This makes you wonder what UVa is looking for in a student applicant. Obviously, it’s more than SAT scores, the submission of which is now voluntary, and good grades.

Clues in the TikTok video reveal that the student attended “GWHS,” George Washington High School, in Charleston, W.Va. GWHS is rated the No. 1 public high school in West Virginia, and No. 550 nationally. So, being class valedictorian is not a shabby recognition.

The out-of-state acceptance rate for UVa is 24% for out-of-state students (2021-22 academic year). It’s tough getting into UVa, but it’s not Harvard (3% acceptance rate). It seems remarkable that a student with such sterling credentials — even an out-of-state student — didn’t make the cut. After all, the GWHS student scored 1550 in his SAT. The median SAT score for entering 1st years at UVa this year is 1470.

Where did he fall short?

UVa gets more than 30,000 applicants a year, which means it has broad latitude to pick and choose. The university’s admissions criteria are a mystery, however.

Here’s the vague language the university tells prospective students: ” Your academic performance in high school provides helpful information, but we do not make admission decisions based on grades and numbers alone. We strive to build a varied, dynamic class of students who will thrive at UVA, strengthen our community, and change the world for the better.” (Note the words “strengthen our community” and “change the world for the better.”)

By a “varied” class, the university is referring to both geographic and demographic diversity. As a public university supported by Virginia taxpayers, UVa tries to accept students from every city and county across the state. As an institution committed to “equity,” UVa seeks to increase the percentage of non-traditional students, meaning Blacks and Hispanics, who are under-represented compared to the state’s population, as opposed to Asians, who are over-represented. UVa admissions also factors in legacy status, giving preference to children of alumni, which favors Whites, given the reality that until recent years graduates were mainly White. But out-of-state, non-legacy Whites are accepted at the lowest rate of any racial/ethnic group.

Other factors that UVa might consider are student leadership, involvement in non-academic activities, and “grit,” or a demonstrated ability to overcome adversity. UVa applicants also must fill out the “common” application form, which this year required a “diversity” essay, thus creating the possibility that students might be judged based on their worldviews.

UVa does not explicitly list the criteria, much less make public the weights it gives to each. One is left to speculate, based on statistical profiles of the entering class and the rhetoric of the administration — students should “strengthen our community” and “change the world for the better” — what those criteria might be.

In the case of the GWHS student, one might infer based on the social-justice lens that permeates the rhetoric of the UVa administration that his application was deemed deficient for reasons of race, socioeconomic status, gender, religion sexual orientation, or failure to check off some other social-justice preference. In other words, too Asian (or too White), too male, too Christian, not sufficiently committed to wokeness. Although we know nothing about his parents, one is tempted to add: parents are not alumni or rich enough to cultivate as potential donors.

Perhaps those inferences are unfair. If so, the UVa admissions office could set the record straight by being fully transparent about its admissions criteria. Until it does so, one should feel free to make another set of inferences. The admissions office isn’t transparent because it doesn’t want to be, and it doesn’t want to be because it knows that transparency would make people unhappy.

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Practicing Lawyer
Practicing Lawyer
1 month ago

Thank you, Jim.

“it knows that transparency would make people unhappy.” –

Add to that: it doesn’t want to be because its practices will soon be illegal. Hence every selective school is now abandoning standardized criteria for admission by which their expected illegal conduct might be demonstrated. How does a state institution justify that?

This is like watching George Wallace pledge fealty to segregation ‘forever.’ We will be litigating this issue for another forty years. Should the Board not undertake an inquiry into the standards and methods our school is using, and who is responsible for it? That is the most direct way to go about this, and we presently have the tools.

Wahoo'74
Wahoo'74
1 month ago

It is outrageous an outstanding, well-rounded student athlete leader like this young man was rejected by UVA. There is no justifiable reason for that decision. W&L’s gain, UVA’s loss.

walter smith
walter smith
1 month ago

(This was pasted in from Bacon’s Rebellion)
A lot of people posting here who have no knowledge. I will post this on The Jefferson Council site also, but it likely won’t need that preface.
First, as to legacies, I was quite surprised by the ACTUAL DATA. The legacies do have a higher admission rate. But the Mean SATs for the legacies was also right in the groove of the overall. So it does not appear as preferential as people think, and it probably reflects that the parents were educated (hence, “legacies” – get it?)
As to the admissions process – I don’t think there can be any doubt that UVA discriminates on the basis of race, but does it in an obscure manner, ON PURPOSE. I believe this was a result of the Michigan case – Gratz or Gruttinger or something like that, where “holistic” consideration of applications came into account. The Supremes over-ruled the specific percentage racial thumb on the scale, but hide it behind an obscure process and they let it stand. This is not that different from Bakke, where dictum from Powell spawned the loophole (he speculated that if you could show some educational benefit to racial discrimination in the racial diversity producing better education results, then maybe it was OK. So, the admissions all just proclaim it, but none has studied it and to the extent studies show it is a negative (the mismatch effect), it is disparaged or ignored.)
UVA’s admissions for the class of 2026 showed an overall offer rate of 19%
For whites, the offer rate was 17%
For blacks it was 29%
Hispanics were something like 20% and Asians something like 22%
Race Unknown had a higher offer rate than whites.
All of the “Mean” SAT scores for the other groups were substantially higher than for the blacks. So how did “blacks” have a 29% offer rate vs a 17% rate for “whites?”
UVA uses a screening software which it will not disclose any further to me – perhaps a legislator should ask about it – that assigns a “score” for “school” and for “neighborhood.”
I would like to see the schools and neighborhoods and the resulting scores. My hypothesis is that my daughter would have substantially different “scores” for putting in a different school and a different neighborhood. UVA also refuses to admit that there is any kind of a “score” with the first screen software. I think that has to be a lie. UVA received over 50,000 applications and there was NO standard? So, different screeners had different standards and that was OK?
I will keep trying with FOIA, but I believe the citizens of the Commonwealth and the alumni should know how the applicants are graded. It appears to me that if I was a white applicant, I would try to be Race Unknown and I would rent a place in a horrible neighborhood to get a better neighborhood score. Prove my hypothesis wrong.

Jen Hans
Jen Hans
1 month ago

Uva is so biased in its admissions. It’s discrimination. I hope this is straightened out by the Supreme Court someday.

The Bootstrap Kid
The Bootstrap Kid
1 month ago

I was admitted to the UVA law school in 1975 and graduated in 1978. I have practiced law since that time. I don’t think that I would be admitted now because I am a white, heterosexual, conservative male. It’s no fun growing old but I do think that I was fortunate enough to experience the waning days of an American culture that didn’t discriminate against people like me and rewarded hard work and perseverance. Although I grew up in a working class neighborhood and my parents had fourth grade educations, I worked my way through university and graduated with high honors and a degree in aerospace engineering. I also played D-1 lacrosse while earning that undergraduate degree. I worked as an engineer for several years before going to law school.

It’s a pity that so many dreams are now being crushed by the woke left.

walter smith
walter smith
1 month ago

Under current Leftist orthodoxy, you could only achieve the American Dream ( I like Bootstrap Kid as a moniker!), because you are a straight white male, and it had nothing to do with the effort you put in. Also, Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas are not authentically “black.” It is an evil ideology that denies Man’s humanity and worth as being created in the image of God. In their evil, divisive worldview, you ARE your Group. Opposite of MLK’s “dream,” and, repeating, evil, and false.

James B Newman
James B Newman
1 month ago

It is yet another sad instance when UVA’s unfettered bias in the name of diversity is taking the institution into a state of mediocrity. Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave. UVA suggests transparency when its actions in this regard could not be more obscure. There will be a day of reckoning. SAD.

E. Coleman Goodwin
E. Coleman Goodwin
1 month ago

Pure & unadulterated political racism to appease the “Woke”
crowd…Mr. Jefferson has to be rolling in his grave. I am very ashamed of this administration. They need to go!

Peter LeQuire College '65
Peter LeQuire College '65
1 month ago

If admissions are to be based on something other than achievement and merit, then it – the present administration at the University – is in the vanguard of the assault on the notion of it – the University – being a place where truth can be pursued and the free exchange of ideas encouraged. I have no cure to propose, but I am convinced that a reasonable solution would be the withholding of contributions to any school, department, or scholarship fund until this attack on the university is stopped. The University has not been shy about touting the traditions we hold dear in begging money from us, while at the same time working feverishly to destroy those traditions. Don’t feed the beast.

Beyond that, those who share these concerns who have friendly ears with state legislators ought not be shy about voicing their concerns to them.