University of Virginia admissions procedure hurts Jefferson students


Tommy Lunn, Opinion Editor

With almost all decisions released, Jefferson students are deciding where to spend the next four years of their lives.  Most people did not receive offers of admission from all the schools they applied to, which is only natural.  However, many Jefferson students did not get accepted to the University of Virginia (U.Va.), which has shown an increasingly strong and unfair bias towards Jefferson students over the past few years.

Aside from the likely untrue rumors of U.Va. accepting only 75 seniors this year are the facts.  Comparing Jefferson’s class of 2013’s 58 percent admittance rate at U.Va. with the class of 2011’s 75 percent acceptance rate highlights the problem at hand.  With the statistics following this trend, it is only going to get worse.

Yes, most selective schools have decreased admit rates over the past few years. However, the percentages of acceptances have not dropped as rapidly or as dramatically as that of Jefferson students applying to U.Va.

Arguably the best university in Virginia, U.Va. has many opportunities to offer for Jefferson students.  Its world-class academics, good social life and low, in-state tuition make it the top choice for many Jefferson seniors.  Classes of 2011 and 2013 each sent 106 students, making this clear.

However, only 87 seniors went to U.Va. from Jefferson this past year.  This is not a sign of the decreasing appeal of the school.  In fact, applications have gone up.  Instead, it shows the effects of the informal quota that U.Va. seems to be placing on Jefferson students.

Many of the decreasing number of students admitted have stellar applications and are the best of the best.  As such, a large portion of them will be attending other top-tier institutions.  Another flaw in the U.Va. admissions process is that students from Jefferson have received offers from statistically more challenging schools to get into, but have been flat out rejected from their in-state choice, which is wrong for a state school to do.

As a result, the students ultimately being disadvantaged by U.Va. are those who are above average, but not quite the best.  Honestly, most Jefferson students qualify for U.Va. and it is understandable for them not to take everyone.  That said, many very deserving students seem to get punished by the system, with students being offered a place denying it.

While UVa. also is building geographic and racial diversity, hurting a population of students for attending one high school is not justified.  Other Virginia high schools do not send as many kids to UVa. as Jefferson, but UVa. seems to be forgetting that Jefferson’s students come from all over Northern Virginia and from totally different backgrounds.  Additionally, the admittance of another 50 students from Jefferson would hardly have an impact on an institution that boasts an undergraduate population of almost 15,000 students.

The university should not give free passes to Jefferson students.  Likewise, most Jefferson students should not count on getting into UVa.  However, to deny students an offer of admission due to their attendance at Jefferson is irresponsible for the state’s premier public university.