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Rice releases regular decision results, accepts record number of applicants

Photo by Courtesy Rice University Public Affairs | The Rice Thresher

The class of 2019 matriculates through the Lovett Hall Sallyport. The event was pushed back an hour due to rain, but the festivities and fireworks went on!

By Savannah Kuchar     3/30/21 6:12pm

At 5:00 p.m. today, the Rice University Office of Admission released regular decision results. This year, Rice gave a record number of admission offers to 2,749 applicants  from all 50 states and 68 countries, according to Vice President for Enrollment Yvonne Romero da Silva. 

Romero da Silva said that this record admitted student cohort, which includes the 478 students admitted last December through Early Decision admission and the QuestBridge National College Match program, was a result of the recently announced expansion of the undergraduate student body. 2,346 total students were admitted last year, including 440 early decision applicants.

“This meant we could invite more talented students from all over the world to study at Rice,” Romero da Silva said. “We admitted more Texans, more U.S. students outside of Texas and more international students and look forward to the diverse voices and perspectives arriving on campus this fall.”

Despite the increase in the number of students admitted, the acceptance rate this year was 9.3 percent, slightly higher than the record low 8.7 percent set in 2019. The offers released today represented just nine percent of the 29,523 applications received by the admissions office, a 26 percent increase in applications compared to last year’s 23,443

Romero da Silva said she attributes the increase in applications in part to Rice’s test-optional policy. Of the students accepted in this round of admission, 20 percent did not submit SAT or ACT scores with their applications.

“We read each student's Rice supplement essays and really value when students can convey the elements of Rice that are special — the community, our culture of care and engaged students and faculty,” Romero da Silva said. “Many students picked up on these aspects of Rice and concluded that Rice really feels like home. We want students in our community who value being a part of our community.”

According to Romero da Silva, Rice was among its peer institutions in seeing this rise in applications.

“Rice, like many other highly selective institutions, saw a significant increase in applications this year,” Romero da Silva said. “We also completely revamped our web pages and marketing campaigns which really helped illuminate the parts of Rice and the Rice community that make it so unique.”

Aditi Buch, from Plano Senior High School, said she was nervous waiting for the results this afternoon.

“When that confetti came … oh my god, it was like I could let my breath out for the first time in a week," Buch said. "I’m so thrilled to be a part of the Rice Class of 2025 and I can’t wait to meet all the incredible people joining me this fall.”

Amanda Saving from Richardson, Texas said she was also very excited to get her acceptance today.

“Rice has been one of my top schools throughout this past year, and I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to join the community next fall,” Saving said. “I’m so grateful to have the chance to meet such an inclusive and diverse group of students, and I can’t wait to get to know everyone if I attend.”

Romero da Silva said she believes the incoming class of 2025 will also be happy to matriculate into a “largely normal fall semester,” based on the email sent out by President David Leebron to the Rice community today.

“We envision most classes being delivered in person, most university housing being fully occupied, and a relaxation of our COVID-19 policies such as gathering size and perhaps even the mask requirement (subject to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” Leebron wrote. “While we must prepare for different circumstances and adapt if the environment changes, I am optimistic that we can deliver the robust high quality in-person educational experience that our faculty and students enjoyed prior to the pandemic actions we began taking just over a year ago.”

According to Romero da Silva, all of the admitted students events held by the Office of Admissions will remain virtual, as they were last year.

“This year, admitted students will have the option to sign up for self-guided campus tours on five weekend days between April 3 and May 1,” Romero da Silva said. “Students will be required to register for a specific slot, sign in on campus, and agree to abide by the campus COVID protocols that have been in place. We are thrilled to make the opportunity to visit campus available to our admitted students.”

3/30/2021 at 8:07 p.m. The story was update to clarify the number of total accepted students and include quotes from admitted students.

3/30/2021 at 10:57 p.m. The story was update to include an additional quote from Yvonne Romero da Silva.

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