Application review at Denison

The dust has settled since our application deadline passed on January 15, and once again Denison has received a record number of applications – over 12,000 in total, topping last year’s previous high of 9,500. We’re excited that interest in Denison is at an all time high – but it also means we have a lot of applications to read and tough decisions to make over the coming weeks.

Every application we receive is read by at least two members of the admission staff; the first read is typically done by the territory manager who has a strong understanding of the high schools in their territory. At this point, some files are recommended for admit, waitlist, or deny, but many end up going to the next stage of the process which is a full review by the admission committee.

In the committee process we focus heavily on the holistic review of each applicant. Academic ability is gauged by a combination of course performance and course selection. We also want to know what kind of citizens and classmates we are welcoming to our residential environment, so personal qualities are very important in this process as well. Finally, a student’s essay and letters of recommendation can give us a sense of a student’s character and personality. 

In this process we’re also focused on not just individual students, but the composition of our incoming class as a whole. We want to make sure Denison is inclusive of a variety of different perspectives and positionalities — this type of heterogeneity and conversation across difference is a hallmark of the Denison experience.

It can be a painstaking process, with a lot of long days and nights, but we think we have an important responsibility on behalf of current, past, and future Denisonians to be thoughtful about our admission decisions.