Undergraduate Admissions policies and practices

May 1, 2019

The ongoing college admissions bribery scandal that has touched several prominent universities has raised critical questions about undergraduate admissions policies and processes across the world of higher education.

The investigation, called Operation Varsity Blues, presents an opportunity to reflect on current practices and reaffirm institutional beliefs in regard to admissions and enrollment.

Q: How does the University of Michigan ensure admissions applications are accurate and identify instances of misrepresentation?
A: At the University of Michigan, we use a comprehensive, whole-person approach to review every candidate for admission to identify a talented, diverse class of students who will flourish on our campus. We engage multiple readers and reviews in evaluating the full set of credentials offered for consideration.

The rigor of the U-M review process is intended to identify inconsistencies in the application record and help safeguard against deception; if and when inconsistencies are detected, we take immediate and aggressive action. This includes a formal process to evaluate crime and conduct issues that would take into account any instances of academic fraud.

You can read more about U-M’s selection process here.

Q: What is the University of Michigan’s response to the ongoing college admissions bribery scandal?
A: We strongly condemn the fraudulent behaviors by individuals who deliberately misrepresent prospective students seeking college admission.

The alleged college admission fraud scheme that has been exposed is alarming and deeply disturbing. It appears that those involved went to great lengths to hide their deception from the targeted institutions.

Q: Has the University of Michigan reevaluated its admissions policies and processes in the wake of the scandal?
A: We routinely review our processes to determine if there is are risks, practice or policy improvements necessary to better insure integrity, and that is also the case when there are emergent issues like this one.

Q: Does the University of Michigan reserve admissions spots for recruited athletes or students with other non-athletic talents, such as dance or music?
A: No, we do not reserve or set aside spaces for any student population. Athletes are required to submit applications within reasonable time frames to allow for decision release and enrollment planning for the entire class population. Timing of application submission in coordination with signing dates is managed by the athletic department and is not a guarantee of admission for any recruited student athlete.

Q: Is an applicant’s legacy status – having a parent, step-parent, grandparent or sibling who attended the University of Michigan – considered during the holistic admissions review process?
A: Legacy status is not a preference in the admissions process but does serve as context – outside of the admissions review – in understanding a student’s interest. Most importantly, it helps us calculate the likelihood of enrollment.

Information about a student’s status as a legacy can also be used to acknowledge their relationship to U-M in communications with families during both the application process and when it renders their admissions decisions.