UR attracts diverse incoming class with highest-ever cumulative GPA

June 2, 2021

University News

In a year when few high school students were visiting college campuses, including the University of Richmond, UR recorded its largest applicant pool in its history.

Nearly 14,000 students applied for admission and more than 900 have deposited. The record applicants aren’t completely surprising. “Because many schools including UR went test optional, students considered schools they might not have in the past,” said Stephanie Dupaul, vice president for Enrollment Management. What many applicants might not realize, though, she said, is that UR has a holistic admission process and that test scores had always been only part of an applicant’s consideration.

Also contributing to the record-breaking pool is that UR offered in-person instruction for the entire academic year of 2020-21. “That was really well received with parents, counselors, and students,” Dupaul said. “We delivered an in-person student experience. We stood out for our ability to provide what students value — personal relationships with faculty, staff, and other students. That’s what makes us special.”


Our reputation has been positively impacted by the students we bring in and the success they have.
Stephanie Dupaul

Vice president for Enrollment Management

Admission also has worked to expand the pool of candidates with more first-generation students and a greater geographical reach. Part of the strategy includes reaching out to students when they are high school sophomores. “It’s part of a long-range strategy to build awareness over time, particularly in new markets,” she said.

The University has been on a positive trajectory for the past several years. “Our reputation has been positively impacted by the students we bring in and the success they have,” Dupaul said. 

By May 1, more than 900 students had made deposits to attend. However, every year some students decide not to enroll — sometimes called summer melt — which is anticipated. Due to this melt, Dupaul expects the incoming first-year class will be closer to 840 students.

Although melt is routine, Dupaul said it was higher last year because of COVID. This year about 70% of students who have deposited have never visited campus. The Office of Admission expects many of these new students will visit this summer and will provide additional programming for new students, including local treats like Kona Ice on Fridays.

Dupaul said the class is the second most diverse in the school’s history and has the highest average GPA. The class is over 29% domestic students of color and also has a strong international cohort. She’s particularly proud of how faculty, staff, and students pulled together to find new ways to connect with prospective students to show what Richmond is about and how it cares for its students.