The View From Campus – How Public Universities Make Admissions Decisions
This month’s article is featuring Robert Hardin, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for International Recruitment, at the University of Oregon
About the university
Q: Describe your institution in 5 words?
A:Green, unique, groundbreaking, welcoming, and thoughtful.
Q: For what is your institution best known overseas?
A:The University of Oregon has alumni from around the world that have made an impact, including: Phil Knight (founder and president of Nike), Daniel Wu (actor), Renee James (former president of Intel), Ann Curry (journalist), Ken Kesey (author), and Chuck Palahniuk (author) to name just a few. UO is also known around the world for having successful sports teams and individual athletes.
Q: What are your top academic programs (undergrad & grad)?
A: The University of Oregon’s top academic programs are: Accounting, Architecture, Education, Psychology, and our sciences, particularly Biology and Physics.
Q: What are the top 5 countries represented at your college?
China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. We are an international university with over 3,200 international students (about 14% of the student body) from 103 different countries.
Q: How does your institution use IELTS in the admissions process? How valuable a tool is it in evaluating prospective students?
IELTS is one of the few ways we allow students to prove English proficiency. It is a helpful and valuable tool for us to determine if a student has the level of English needed to be successful at the University of Oregon.
Making admissions decisions
Q: Do most public universities have set deadlines for international admissions?
A:Yes, most US public universities have deadlines. However, some deadlines are more flexible than others. At the University of Oregon, we accept applications after the deadline if there are spaces available. However, if you want to apply for scholarships, you will need to meet all posted application deadlines.
Q: What are institutions looking for in an application essay/statement of purpose?
A: We want to get to know a little about the applicant. The essay is your opportunity to tell us something about yourself other than your grades and test scores.
Q: What needs to be in a letter of recommendation that my teachers/professors are asked to write?
A: Teacher letters of recommendation should go beyond what grade you received in a class. We want to know more about how you performed as a student. For example, a letter of recommendation from your maths teacher talking about the hard work and effort it took to earn your grade in the class will help us better understand your true academic potential.
Q: How important are test scores in university admissions decisions?
A:In the US, there is no standard practice for admission decisions, so each university sets different expectations. However, the vast majority of US universities value your class grades more than your test scores or other factors.
Q: What are the most important factors public universities use to determine admissibility of international students?
A: Grades are usually the factor that public universities consider the most important. At the University of Oregon, our research shows that high school grades are the best predictor of success for new college students. Test scores are often the second most important factor. After test scores and grades, it is common for public universities to use other factors such as grade trend, strength of curriculum, extracurricular activities, essay, and teacher recommendations.