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Summer 2003
Getting In
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Meanwhile, another group of highly trained readers conducts academic reviews, focusing on factors such as grades, test scores, breadth and difficulty of high school coursework and scholastic honors received. Every applicant is assigned an academic rank of 1 to 6 by two different readers. If more than one point separates the two rankings, another senior evaluator reads the application and a final determination is made.

During these reviews is when distinctions may be found among students with similar academic records, such as those examples in this story, or even between two students with dissimilar records. A close review of the application of a student with a 3.5 GPA and a 1020 SAT, for example, might reveal a more rigorous course load and other factors not clearly reflected in those grades and scores alone that would make that candidate a better-qualified applicant than another student with a 3.8 GPA or even a 4.0 and a 1320 SAT.

Checks and balances throughout the process guarantee consistency and fairness. “A goal of the training sessions is to ensure that everyone is utilizing the same assessment criteria,” says reader Steven J. Halpern ’73. Checking completed reviews and requiring multiple reads of some applications enable the staff to be certain that those criteria are maintained. In addition, says Rosemary Inks, who coordinates the training and reading process for UARS, “We have a resource team that’s on call for the readers if they come across something they’re not comfortable with, or if they have a question.”

Quality control includes a UC-wide verification process initiated by the Office of the President, in which a random sampling of applicants is asked to provide written confirmation of one of seven elements, such as information offered in the personal statement.

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