A new paperless system being used by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Department this year has led to a dramatic increase in the University’s acceptance rate compared to the same time last year, officials said.

As of Dec. 31, acceptances had increased by 12.3 percent from the same time last year. This year 65.9 percent of the applications reviewed before the end of December were admitted, compared with only 53.6 percent last year.

During the same period, completed applications to the university jumped by about 11 percent.

Chris Lucier, associate director of undergraduate admissions, said applications and acceptances to the University increased because the new system is better at expediting admissions decisions for top applicants.

Most applicants undergo a three-stage review process. Applications are evaluated first by a general admissions counselor and then sent on to a secondary counselor who specializes in the region the applicant comes from. After these two reviews, the application is sent on to an upper-level manager who makes the final admissions decision.

The new paperless system expedites the process by removing several physical steps. Last year, applications had to be transported from one place to another and their status recorded by secretaries. Now admissions counselors can move applications electronically. Lucier estimates that the paperless process cuts about two weeks off each application’s the turnaround time. But the time savings are even more dramatic for the top applicants.

About 28 percent of applicants would be accepted no matter who reviewed their application, Lucier said. Their applications go straight to an upper-level admissions manager after their first review, skipping the secondary review.

Lucier said how much the electronic process accelerates admissions decisions for the University’s top applicants came as a pleasant surprise.

The University trys to notify potential students of their acceptance and financial aid packages as soon as possible because it makes them more likely to attend or at least find out more about the University.

Notifying the top applicants early can even increase the number of highly qualified students who decide to attend. For instance, the yield rate, or chance an admitted student will attend the University, increased by 3 percent for the Engineering School this year, Lucier said.

He attributed this jump to notifying accepted students early in the year before they had heard from other schools.

Those students who were admitted before the end of December were also the last admitted under the University’s old affirmative action guidelines.

On Dec. 29, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a temporary injunction that delayed the implementation of the affirmative action ban until after the University completed this year’s admissions cycle.

After a week-long pause, the University restarted its review of applications on Dec. 10. On that date, the University said counselors would ignore the applicant’s race.

Through Dec. 31, 1162 underrepresented minorities submitted completed applications to the University. Of those, 628 applications were reviewed before the University stopped considering race and 76.3 percent of underrepresented minorities were admitted.

Of non-minority applicants, 62.5 percent were admitted during the same period.

Not all of those who applied before the end of December had their application reviewed under the old admissions criteria.

Only about 60 percent of the over 15,000 applications the University received in that period were reviewed before the end of December.

Four hundred and forty under-represented minorities, who applied before the ban took effect, did not have their applications reviewed under the old system.

In a December interview, Lucier said applications are reviewed strictly in the order in which they are received.

Ms. Coleman Goes to Washington

The University of Michigan joined Michigan State University and Wayne State University in filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday in response to a suit filed by militant pro-affirmative action group By Any Means Necessary.

The brief reiterates the University’s argument first laid out in December in response to another BAMN suit before a federal judge. The argument was that it should be allowed to complete the current admissions cycle before being forced to implement Proposal 2.

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