Richmond Scholars – where do we go from here?

“Is my application complete? Have you received everything? Did everything arrive by the scholars deadline? Is it complete?”

Relax. 😉

We’re getting lots of anxious phone calls and e-mails, so please see my Don’t Freak Out post and save your e-mail or phone call until after we’ve had time to process everything. We had a huge spike in application numbers over the last two days, so we’re processing several thousand applications at the moment… not to mention all the supporting materials we’ll then need to match to the files. It takes time to be meticulous.

In the meantime, I wanted to fill you in a little on what happens next in the Richmond Scholars consideration process.

We will be in heavy, intensive application review mode over the next month and a half. Of all applications on file by December 15 (last year there were about 5000), the admission committee will select around 500-600 semifinalists to forward to the faculty scholars committees. All semifinalists will be notified by early February; when you are notified, you will also be given the opportunity to select two designations within the program. You may be asked to submit additional materials, depending on the designations you select — usually, these are materials you have already completed (e.g. a high school paper, scientific research, etc.)

In the interest of expediency, semifinalists are notified in batches, not all at the same time — some semifinalists may be notified in late December, others not until mid- or late January. We do this so the faculty committees can get started as quickly as possible considering semifinalists who have selected a designation and submitted additional materials. The order of notification depends simply on when applicant files are reviewed, and it tends to be fairly random, although it may correlate slightly (but not necessarily) to the order in which they are received. Only semifinalists are notified, via e-mail and postal mail, by early February; students who do not advance won’t receive notification.

The faculty committees will work throughout January and February to select a group of finalists (usually around 100), who will be invited to campus to interview in March. (All travel expenses are paid by the University.) Through the interview process, the committees will make their final selections.

And that’s the Richmond Scholars selection process in a nutshell. Feel free to comment if you have any questions, and I hope that gives you a better picture of just what happens now that you’ve sent us your application!


  1. Sean Sharkey
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I know that some applicants have received notification that they are semifinalist, when will the next batch of semifinalist be notified?

    • Tom
      Posted January 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


      The batches go out pretty regularly, so it’s a rolling notification process that will continue through early February. Rest assured, we are still in the thick of making our selections, so many semifinalists have yet to be notified (or even identified).


  2. diana
    Posted January 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I heard a rumor that a guy already knows he is a Richmond Scholar finalist. Has everyone been notified yet?

    • Tom
      Posted January 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink


      At this point, no one has been notified that they are a Richmond Scholar finalist – finalists are selected by the faculty committees, who have only recently begun to meet. However, many students have already received notification that they are semi-finalists. This is a rolling process, and all semi-finalists will be notified by early February.

  3. Josh
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    If you apply by the December 15th deadline in order to be considered for the Richmond Scholars process, do you still have the send your semester grades/mid year reports?

    • Tom
      Posted January 25, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink


      Yes, we require mid-year grades (first semester or first trimester) from all Regular Decision and Early Decision 2 applicants, regardless of whether you applied by December 15. In most cases these won’t arrive in time for Richmond Scholars consideration, but they are still a vital part of our review process as we make our admission decisions. We want to see how you’re doing your senior year (which, for many of our applicants, is the most rigorous year yet). These grades can often play a significant role in making or breaking one of our decisions – if mid-year senior grades are not up to snuff with the rest of your transcript, that can be a big red flag to us. On the other hand, if we see your strongest grades yet on the mid-year report, that’s a really positive thing.


  4. Mary Frerichs
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Is it rather unlikely that ED candidates would be offered merit based scholarships? If the answer is no than the numbers would have to be extremely small since a committment has already been made. Correct? When will the first wave of finalist notification be sent? Would it improve your chances to sent second semester grades?

    • Tom
      Posted January 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink


      ED candidates are given equal consideration for the Richmond Scholars program; the scholarships are awarded based strictly on merit, with no consideration of whether or not a student is already committed. But you are correct, there are typically only a very few ED students who receive these scholarships – not, however, because we deliberately do so, but rather because the number of enrolled ED students only makes up something like 5% of the students considered for Richmond Scholars.

      If you are a November ED student being considered as Richmond Scholars semi-finalist, I would encourage you to have your mid-year grades sent to us, since these were not a required part of your application but they can still be very helpful in the scholarship consideration process.

      Finalists will be notified once the faculty committees have had time to review all applications and make their selections. There is no exact date for this; historically, it has happened in late February, but it could be earlier or later.

      • Mary Frerichs
        Posted January 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Does this mean that while all applicants that applied by December 15 were considered, the reality is that only 5% of ED students will be selected. I ask because it looks like over 200 students have been accepted. That would mean a little less than a third of the 2014 class will be considered for that 5% shot at a Richmond Scholarship.

  5. 2014Mom
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Can we assume that all semi-finalists will be notified by the end of this week? I see from the Washington Post that you had a surge in applications this year…

    • Tom
      Posted January 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      All semi-finalists will be notified by early February, so I wouldn’t go so far as to put a cap at the end of this week – but we are winding down toward the end of notifications, yes. This doesn’t correlate at all with the size of our pool, however (which did indeed see another large surge this year); if anything, a larger pool would require more time to review.

      • Raquel
        Posted February 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        will you post the last date that every semi finalist has been notified? That way, those who don’t make it to the next round do not continue to look out for an email notification? Thanks!

      • Tom
        Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink


        All Richmond Scholars semi-finalists were notified, via e-mail and postal mail, by the end of last week. It was the largest pool we’ve ever seen for Richmond Scholars – of the 5500+ applications we received by December 15, we wound up closer to 550 semi-finalists, compared to the 500 we typically select.

      • carol
        Posted February 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Can you tell how many finalists there are?

      • Tom
        Posted February 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Typically we move from about 500 semi-finalists to around 100-120 finalists. We had a slightly larger pool of semi-finalists this year (around 550), but I don’t know whether this will affect the number of finalists.

  6. Mom
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    This might be a dumb, obvious question. If a student gets notified of semi-finalist status can he/she assume that they will be admitted to Richmond? (barring of course a major setback such as big tank in senior grades or a felony arrest!)

    • Tom
      Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      If a student is notified of semi-finalist status, there has not yet been an official offer of admission… but it’s definitely a good sign. You’re correct – we do hold out for some factors, particularly those mid-year grades, which often haven’t arrived before we notify a student of semi-finalist status. Our offers of admission are always conditional upon mid-year senior grades.

  7. Diego Velasco
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I submitted my application by December 15th in order to be eligible for the Richmond Scholars.However,according to the research I have done,I am considered an international student applicant at the University of Richmond.Does this mean that I also have to submit the International Student Financial Aid Application in order to be considered for the Richmond Scholars? Or is that something that can be submitted at a later time? I would very much appreciate your time and help.

    • Tom
      Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink


      Because the Richmond Scholars program is strictly merit-based, we do not require international students to submit the ISFAA for consideration. The ISFAA is exclusively for need-based financial aid, and it is not due until February 15. So you are fully eligible for Richmond Scholars consideration.

  8. Aaron
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Are certain Richmond Scholar Programs further along than others? Will semi-finalists be notified my personal email or on banner web? Can you post here once all selections have been made?

    • Tom
      Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink


      At this time, all semi-finalists have been notified of their semi-finalist status via e-mail and postal mail. The committees for the various designations work on basically the same timeline, so finalist notifications will all go out about the same time – typically toward the end of February. Finalist notifications may come in the form of an e-mail, letter, or phone call – we don’t use BannerWeb for any type of notification.

  9. Carly
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi! My school just finished locking in our second semester grades this week. I am an ED student now, and I am waiting on news for any kind of merit scholarship. Is it too late to send my second semester grades to enhance my chances of being selected for some kind of scholarship? (Richmond scholar or not) Also, have all the semi-finalists been notified yet?

    • Tom
      Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes, all Richmond Scholars semi-finalists have been notified as of the end of last week. Mid-year grades are certainly helpful in all our scholarship consideration processes, so feel free to send those in to us – though they are not required of Fall ED students.

  10. Sasha
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Hello! I’m an international applicant from Russia. I haven’t received any notification by e-mail, does this mean that I’m not selected as a semi-finalist, or I still have a chance to receive notification by postal mail?
    And one more question: if I failed to get Richmond Scholars scholarship, have I still a chance to be admitted to Richmond and receive a need-based aid (I applied)?

    • Tom
      Posted February 8, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink


      International applicants were actually notified of Richmond Scholars semi-finalist status via e-mail only (I should have clarified that in my post – we don’t send postal notifications overseas for semi-finalists). And yes, you are still eligible for our other merit-based scholarships as well as our need-based international aid; but, as I’m sure you know, this is a limited pool of funding and tends to be pretty competitive.

      Best of luck in the continued admission process!


  11. 2014Mom
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    My son was not selected as a Richmond Scholar semi-finalist, but will he be considered for other scholarships? He is a National Merit Semifinalist and should hear about Finalist status sometime soon. Should he send the information about Finalist status or is that not considered?

  12. Mom
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi, sorry to bother you. My daughter submitted her scholars essays on Jan 31st but the system shows it was posted on the 1st. Can we assume that the offices know it was submitted by the deadline?

    Thank you!

    • Tom
      Posted February 8, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink


      No bother at all! The system shows the date that we process materials and post it, not the submission date – so yes, we know that it was submitted by the deadline. Thanks for checking.


  13. Cathy Krug
    Posted February 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Just want you to know that I think this blog is simply fabulous…..So well written and full of useful ( and reassuring) information.

    A Grateful Parent

    • Tom
      Posted February 8, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much for your feedback! It’s good to know that folks are finding this blog helpful.

  14. URApplicant
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Do you have any idea as to when finalist notification emails/letters will be sent out?

    • Tom
      Posted February 11, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      All semi-finalists will hear from us, typically around the end of February. You may hear from us in the form of an e-mail, letter, or phone call. On-campus interviews for finalists will be held from March 16-18.

  15. Posted February 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    It may be worth pointing out to the 5000 or so disappointed Richmond Scholar hopefuls (and their parents) that last year only 1 in 6 of admitted applicants had been chosen as semi-finalists.

  16. Mid-Atlantic Mom
    Posted February 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Did all the artist scholars who made it to the second round hear already as well?

    • Tom
      Posted February 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Mid-Atlantic Mom,

      Yes, all artist scholar semi-finalists have been notified as well, by the same dates.

  17. Curious Dad
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    My daughter just received an e-mail that UR is waiting on her mid-year grades and her application would not be looked at until it is complete. Would that mean that she did not get considered as a Richmond Scholar because they did not have her mid-year grades? Her semester just ended in late January. Thanks. This blog is really fantastic.

    • Tom
      Posted February 17, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Curious Dad,

      Glad to hear you’re finding the blog helpful! No, mid-year grades are not required for Richmond Scholars consideration – in fact, most RS consideration takes place before most schools’ first semesters end. But for general admission consideration, mid-year grades are necessary; all of our admission decisions include consideration of the first half of a student’s senior year, so we won’t make any final decision on an application until we review those grades.


    • Curious Mom
      Posted February 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      We received a letter from President Ayers requesting more info about our daughter by Feb. 15. I’ve never seen anything like that before. We sent that on about Feb 8. If we have not heard about Richmond Scholars yet, are we out of the running? Either way, when should we expect an answers on admissions and Richmond Scholars? Thanks for the blog.

      • Tom
        Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Curious Mom,

        Thank you for writing a letter on behalf of your daughter! We and President Ayers value the added perspective that parents can provide. Of course, it’s not required, and we don’t count it negatively in any way against those students whose parents choose not to submit a letter (Early Decision applicants aren’t even given the opportunity because of the quick turnaround time in ED); but it can help with the “whole picture” for those who do.

        All Richmond Scholars semi-finalists were notified about their status by the end of January; students who don’t advance in the process aren’t notified. If your student is a semi-finalist, then they’re not out of the running yet; finalist notifications are forthcoming, and all semi-finalists will be notified, either way. Presidential Scholarships are awarded with admission.

        April 1 is our notification date for admission. We typically try to have the letters in your hands by that date, if not a bit earlier, but that’s our hard-and-fast mail date.


      • 2014 parent
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        We never received a letter requesting parental input.
        Can you explain to whom these letters were sent?

        While it was not required, if we had received this request,we would have written a letter…especially if it could (or could have) positively impact the scholarship or admissions decision.

        Thanks… your responses and the info you provide is very much appreciated

      • Tom
        Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        2014 parent,

        The letter requesting the input of parents is sent from President Ayers to the parents of all students who apply Regular Decision. (We aren’t able to invite Early Decision parents to write, given the quick turnaround time.) It is sent via postal mail within a few weeks of receiving an application.

        You should also know that the parent letter is not a part of Richmond Scholars consideration at any level – semi-finalists are selected and the faculty committees are already well into review before parent letters begin to arrive. The letter is only used by the admission committee; even there, it simply serves to help fill out the well-rounded picture we’re looking for, and it doesn’t count positively or negatively toward any student’s decision.

        If you did not receive the letter (and your student applied Regular Decision), you’re welcome to contact our office and inquire about it.


      • 2014 parent
        Posted February 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for the info.

  18. Carol
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Can you tell me when finalists are notified and how?

    • Tom
      Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Finalist notifications are forthcoming; all semi-finalists will receive notification either way. Notification typically comes by e-mail, but watch the postal mail and your phone as well. Best of luck!

  19. Diadra
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be a stickler Tom but what does “forthcoming” mean? Can you give us a date? Also I know the amount of semi-finalists was large but how many finalists do you usually have?

    • Tom
      Posted February 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink


      Forthcoming means, well, forthcoming. Sorry, but there’s not an exact date fixed, and notification usually takes place over a couple of days – especially since there are several different faculty committees working with the different designations at this point. By the end of the month at the absolute latest.

      Typically we move from about 500 semi-finalists to around 100-120 finalists. We had a slightly larger pool of semi-finalists this year (around 550), but I don’t know whether this will affect the number of finalists.

  20. Mary
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I was looking for the April weekend dates for the admitted student events. Any idea when these are? Thanks

  21. Mary
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    My daughter was thrilled to receive an email last night that she is a finalist for the Richmond Scholarship. Do finalist stay in the dorms for the 3 days or do we book a hotel? Also, she is an art scholar candidate, any idea how many there are?

    • Tom
      Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations! Richmond Scholars finalists are invited to campus with travel expenses underwritten by the University. They are paired with current Richmond Scholars and stay in their hosts’ rooms for their two nights on campus.

      Typically we have about 100-120 finalists, but this can vary from year to year. It also varies how many fall under each designation; some students may be invited to interview for more than one designation. Your daughter will meet all the other artist scholar finalists when she comes to campus.

  22. 2014 parent
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    So if one doesn’t hear today, than it can be assumed that one was not chosen to be a finalist?

    • Tom
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      No, that’s not a safe assumption. Many finalists have been notified already, but not all. All semi-finalists will hear from us one way or another.

  23. URApplicant
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I don’t mean to keep pestering you, but do you think that we should expect to receive news, good or bad, in the next day or so?

    • Tom
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Please see my responses to other comments – notifications are rolling, and everyone will hear by next week, either way.

  24. Mom
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Hey, fellow parents, I think we should all stop pestering this guy! Clearly, the finalists will be informed in a timely fashion, and fretting about it won’t change the answers. Relax!!

    • Tom
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your concern. 🙂 This is a very busy time in our office, and there’s not really anything more I can say than I’ve already said. I understand how anxious many are feeling, but my advice is the same – relax, breathe, and wait as patiently as possible.

  25. Tina
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Is there anyway to tell what your odds are of being a Scholar recipient? If my daughter is an art candidate can she bring a portfolio of additional art work ? This would be work that was done after the submission deadline.

    • Tom
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Being selected as a finalist is obviously very good news, but ultimately it will come down to the interviews in person. My guess is that additional art samples would not be necessary (she’s made it to the finalist round, which implies she’s a compelling artist), but I don’t know what the committee is expecting. You may want to contact the Scholars Office to inquire about it.

  26. carol
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I know that some finalists have been notified. Can you tell us if all finalists have been notified for all the areas… Bonner, Presidential, Oldham, etc. If so, I’m assuming that if we haven’t heard by now then we are out. Thanks for the help – I try to stay off the college confidential sites since many of them are just assuming and its nice to get real answers from your office.

    • Tom
      Posted February 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      At this point many finalists have been notified – perhaps most – but I don’t know if all have been notified yet. Again, this is all run through the faculty committees and Scholars Office, so it’s not in the hands of admission at this point. I don’t know how it falls out among the different designations. All semi-finalists should hear from us by mid- to late next week, one way or another.

      And you’re most welcome for the help. I try to be as transparent as I can!

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