Richmond Scholars Process Update

Knowing that there are a number of anxious Richmond Scholars semi-finalists waiting to hear from us, I wanted to provide a brief update on where we are in the process and on a few changes that we’re implementing this year.

The faculty committees are still in the process of making finalist decisions, and we’ll begin to send notifications soon. All semi-finalists – whether they advance or not – will hear from us by the end of February. Keep an eye on both e-mail and snail mail.

This year, more semi-finalists will advance to the finalist stage than in previous years; the faculty committees have determined, based on the quality of the semi-finalist pool, that they want to interview a larger group of candidates than in the past. As a result, most finalist interviews in March will take place remotely rather than on campus. As much as possible, the committees will interview candidates via Skype; if Skype is not a viable option, we’ll arrange a telephone interview. (Note that we’ve already been conducting a handful of remote interviews each year for students who could not make the campus interviews, so this is not new to the Richmond Scholars process.) The one exception here is for Artist Scholar finalists, who – for obvious reasons – need to visit campus in order to audition and showcase their talents. Artist Scholar finalists will receive separate information about visiting campus for an interview.

From this larger swath of interviews, the committees will then make their final decisions. Richmond Scholars recipients will receive an all-expense-paid, two-night visit to campus, which will take place in early April (excepting Artist Scholars, who will have already visited campus by that time).

If you’re curious as to why we’re interviewing a larger number of finalists, it’s something that’s been in the works for a while – primarily due to the rapid growth in our applicant pool in recent years. This has resulted in an increasingly larger number of candidates each year who demonstrate the scholarly qualities we’re looking for in Richmond Scholars, and thus an increasing number of students our faculty would like to interview. Ultimately, there’s no real change in the outcome: we will still award around 45 full-tuition scholarships to the most outstanding applicants in our pool, students whom we believe will be movers and shakers not only for four years on our campus, but across the nation and the globe for decades to come.


  1. Maggie
    Posted February 17, 2012 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the update! Just a quick question…
    Will the finalists still be automatically qualified for the Presidential Scholarship or will the influx of finalists change that reward?
    Eagerly waiting the mail!

    • Tom
      Posted February 17, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink


      Even with the larger number of finalists, those who are not ultimately selected as Richmond Scholars will all receive Presidential Scholarships. Good question.


  2. Travis
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink


    I’m curious how many Science Scholars finalists for this year and how many will be advanced as scholarship recipients at the end of the process. And last question: is the final cut solely based on the skype interview or the interview and everything that we’ve sent you up to this point? I would really appreciate if you could clarify this.

    Thank you!


  3. Scott
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Will the notifications for the Richmond Scholar finalists be sent out all at one time, or will the emails be sent out over several days?
    Thanks for your response!

    • Tom
      Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink


      Because finalists are being selected by multiple committees (different groups of faculty), we can’t guarantee that all notifications will go out at exactly the same time. We’re doing our best to notify everybody as quickly as possible. At this point, most finalists have been notified.


  4. Travis
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink


    Thanks a lot for the updated information. I’m curious how many science scholars finalists for this year? And will the final cut be solely based on the skype interview or the interview and everything we’ve sent you so far? And last question: will students who are finalists but not selected as Richmond scholarship recipients still be qualified for other forms of aid? I would really appreciate if you could clarify this. And thanks again for the update!



    • Tom
      Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink


      I’m answering both of your posts here, since they contain similar questions. Ultimately, we’re looking to enroll around 12 science scholars, as we do each year; however, we don’t release the exact number of finalists, overall or for any specific designation. Sorry for the opacity, but in the age of information and social media, the college admission process remains one area where information is not always readily available. I realize a lot of money is at stake, but my advice is to put your best foot forward and focus on the scholarly community you have the opportunity to join at Richmond, rather than worrying about odds and percentages. (And off the record, the former focus will probably make you a more desirable candidate to the selection committees, too.)

      The committee’s decisions will be based on all the information available to them. This includes the Common Application, Richmond Supplement, additional materials required for each designation, and the interview. Keep in mind, however, that at this advanced stage of the process the committees are working exclusively with the very, very best students in our applicant pool – all of whom look exceptional on paper – so the interview will be critical in helping them make their difficult decisions.

      Finalists who are not selected as Richmond Scholars will receive the $15,000/year Presidential Scholarship. They will also be eligible for all other merit scholarships, and for need-based financial aid (assuming they have applied for it).


  5. Samantha
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink


    I understand that a lot of finalists have been notified already from what I gather front his post and what I have seen on college confidential. What I don’t understand is why I haven’t gotten a notification that I haven’t gotten finalist status. It seems unnecessarily cruel to tell everyone who has been moved to the finalist round and wait a while and then tell those who haven’t gotten it. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The worst thing in the world is to hear that someone else got it and through process of elimination and passing of days, realize that you didn’t get it.

    • Tom
      Posted March 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I hear you, Samantha — and all students who find themselves stuck in a similar uncertain period of waiting, whether for a scholarship or admission decision. I want to make a brief, general statement on this, since I know it’s a cause of great angst for high school seniors around this time of year.

      The fact is, while many colleges have moved to an online notification system that lets everybody find out admission or scholarship decisions at the same time, there are also many selective colleges (like Richmond) that notify in a more traditional way (by letter or e-mail). It gives these colleges the flexibility they’re used to — being able to start an urgent or time-sensitive notification process before all decisions have been made, taking more time to holistically review applications, and not being bound by a single hour and date when everything has to be set in stone.

      Keep in mind that many of the people running colleges and admission offices have been doing this for decades, and that the advent of social media (and the changes it brings) is a relatively recent event, new within the past 5-7 years. The crux of the matter here is that phrase Samantha uses, “to hear that someone else got it.” Prior to 5 or 6 years ago, there was no way to hear what other applicants were getting or receiving from a college, unless they happened to be your friend or attend your high school. Now, Facebook, Twitter, and sites like College Confidential make it really easy to find out exactly what admission offices are saying and when they’re saying it. It’s hard to imagine life without this type of connection and information availability, but that’s how things worked less than a decade ago.

      The trouble is, many colleges and admission offices haven’t adapted fully to these changes. They’re used to the aforementioned flexibility they’ve always enjoyed. Their leadership is not particularly attuned to the realities of social media, and it takes time for processes to change. So even as they begin to use more electronic types of notification, many admission offices continue to spread out the time periods over which notifications are released.

      I write this not as a defense of processes that probably ought to change, but rather as a way of trying to explain the present reality that many of you will face as you apply to selective colleges. My own personal opinion — that of a 26-year-old for whom Facebook first appeared during his sophomore year of college — is that many admission offices could stand to be a little more sensitive to the times and to update their processes in light of social media, while many high school students could stand to practice a little more patience in an era of instant gratification. I fear that social media brings little but increased anxiety to the already over-anxious and over-hyped process of college admission. See my previous post on patience and waiting if you want to read more.

  6. Sophie
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    At this point, are there still e-mails going out notifying semi-finalists if they are going on to the next round? Thanks.


  7. Bob
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Wish this could be posted in bannerweb. I’m eagerly awaiting notification – whether positive or not.

  8. Ivan Wolozny
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi, good day. If by this time I have not received an e-mail of any type from the committee I presume that I did not qualify at all. Can I expect any smaller type of Scholarship??
    Thanks for your help.

    • Tom
      Posted March 12, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      To all above comments, we concluded notifying semi-finalists by the end of February. If you still haven’t heard from us, please contact our office and we’ll see what the holdup is. We’d love to post notifications in BannerWeb, but we don’t currently have the capability to do so.

      Semi-finalists who did not advance to the finalist stage are still very much in the running for Presidential Scholarships, and all students are welcome to apply for the Bonner Scholars Program. For a listing of all scholarships, see

  9. Hadi
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    I was interviewed for the science scholarship yesterday and I wanted to know the date the Final results would come out.

    • Diana
      Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      The results will come out “the week of March 19th” as is posted on the link in the Finalist Notification email. So next week!

    • Tom
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink


      Diana is correct. Each selection committee works on its own schedule, but all scholars finalists should hear from us this week.


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