Interim decision eliminated for 2008 admissions
Prospective students to the class of 2012 can no longer apply to Rice via interim decision. The Office of Enrollment chose to stop offering interim decision applications in January. Interim decision enabled students to apply to Rice and receive a decision in February instead of April. The option was non-binding and began at Rice in the 1970s.
Vice President for Enrollment Chris Munoz said the fact that top-tier schools around the nation dropped early decision had no bearing on Rice's choice to cease offering interim. Munoz said the enrollment office ceased to offer interim decision because the three decisions were exhausting application reviewers, who had between Feb. 18 and April 1 to accept or reject regular decision applicants.
"We came to the conclusion that with the significant increase in the applicant pool that we expect to achieve, the number of decisions that we are going to make are going to be significantly increased," Munoz said.
Since Rice plans to increase enrollment by 30 percent, his office would be even more taxed, he said.
"We had a number of students who applied under interim decision who, at the time, we decided we couldn't make a positive decision on," Munoz said. "But they were of such quality, that we moved them to the regular decision process. What that means is after we had read and evaluated several hundred applications as interim, we had to re-read them and re-evaluate them as regular decision."
Munoz said he thought it was unfair to make a final decision to accept or reject an applicant during the interim process.
"We could have regular decision students who may be offered admission, and they may be exactly the same as those who applied under interim [and were rejected]," he said.
The removal of interim decision may deter prospective minority students from applying to Rice, since regular decision candidates who attend Vision Weekend — a minority recruitment weekend held in February every year— would visit Rice before receiving their admissions decisions. Munoz stressed that the elimination of interim decision will not impede minority recruitment efforts at Rice.
"We're going to have to be very intentional and put our best foot forward to compel minority students to have enough interest to apply and come to our open house programs like Vision [Weekend]," Munoz said. "Last year was one of the largest participations we've ever had, and we certainly want to continue that."
Munoz said he thinks it is especially important to be hospitable towards underrepresented minority students.
"You have to put it in the context of Rice's history [of denying blacks admission]," Munoz said. "There are people who haven't forgotten."
To recruit minorities, Rice officials are talking with the Houston Independent School District to identify and encourage potential applicants, Munoz said.
Munoz said he does not think the elimination of interim decision will affect how many students attend Owl Weekend.
Munoz also said he does not think the removal of interim decision gives an unfair advantage to wealthier students.
"We looked into that question at Rice and found no correlation," he said.
Jones College junior Lacey Pyle, who was admitted via interim decision, said she thinks getting rid of interim decision will discourage prospective students from applying.
"I feel like the majority of people who don't have their mind automatically set on Rice will do interim, so if people don't really know where they want to go, it's scary," Pyle said. "If you're not sure you're going to get into Rice [and you apply early decision ] what happens if you don't get in? You're screwed."
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