Fit. Demonstrated interest. Early decision.


The college admission landscape changes constantly, and so does the lingo. College admission processes adapt and respond to new tools and technologies, philosophical shifts, and economic and cultural currents.
This year, Davidson saw its lowest admit rate and highest yield rate in the history of the college—fewer students were admitted, but more of those who were admitted decided on Davidson than ever before. Chris Gruber, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, guides the college’s admission efforts. Here, he offers some insight for families who are wondering where to begin.

Consider early decision.

In the last 10 years colleges and universities have enrolled a higher percentage of their incoming class during the early decision period. It is important to keep in mind who is included in the portion of the class that is accounted for at early decision. At many schools, including Davidson, a large number of the recruited athletes, scholars enrolling from partnership organizations such as Posse and QuestBridge, and students that have deferred their enrollment for a year add to this enrolling percentage. With that in mind, note that most colleges are still making their greatest number of admission offers at regular decision.

Use the best application tool for you.

While Davidson has been a member of the Common Application for over 30 years, in addition to hosting its own application, the creation of the Coalition Application today allows multiple ways for students to apply to the colleges and universities of their choice. Students need to know that college and university admission officers do NOT give preference to one application over another. As a result, students should utilize the application tool that best serves them in presenting themselves as a candidate and offers the greatest ease in filing their applications.

Learn about Committee-Based Evaluation (CBE).

A significant number of colleges and universities have started to use an approach, called CBE, that is designed to allow admission teams to review an increasingly large applicant pool. Davidson Admission trialed CBE but continues to employ the system in which a first evaluation is done by an admissions officer who spends 20-30 minutes with an application, and then reviews, evaluates, documents findings and makes a recommended admission decision. With CBE, the first review is done in teams of two, as one admissions officer focuses on academic materials (transcripts, test scores, etc.) and the other focuses on non-academic factors. The two discuss the candidate while conducting their evaluation and make a recommendation, typically within 6-10 minutes.

Know what you will be expected to contribute to college cost.

Every college and university in the country is required by federal mandate to have a Net Price Calculator (NPC) on their website. These calculators are designed to provide a preliminary estimate of federal, state and institutional aid eligibility, to help families gauge what aid the student may be awarded from a college, and to understand the
family’s required contribution. Davidson, along with 45 other colleges and universities, has partnered with MyinTuition (, which is a simplified NPC designed to deliver a faster and more clear understanding of what a family may be asked to contribute toward their child’s cost of attendance.

The Class of 2022 includes a student who…

…won the 2017 state Future Farmers of America Poultry Judging Championship

…started her own website for Down syndrome advocacy and awareness

…developed a Gun Violence Prevention Youth Summit

…published a short story that won first place in the District Literacy Fair

…qualified for the 2018 World Debate Championships

…has never had ANY social media accounts throughout their four years of high school

…independently studied Swahili and Gaelic

…juggles fire and is a circus arts institute aerialist

…co-founded a non-profit called Sole2Soul and delivered 1,800 pairs of shoes in four countries

…had works frequently published by Sports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports

…founded a program to welcome and integrate Syrian refugees through cultural exchanges and meals

…is a three-sport athlete and a three-instrument musician 

…volunteered at a national park in Argentina, climbed glaciers in Alaska, camped beside grazing cows in the Swiss Alps, and biked from coast to coast in the United States

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