Fall 2014 Regular Decision Letters Sent!

Last week we released the first of our Regular Decision notification letters, and we will continue to mail decision letters on a weekly basis over the coming weeks and months.  If you haven’t received a letter yet, don’t worry!  When you submitted your application, and also when you completed your application file, will affect when you receive a decision letter. Please check your application status through myUMBC and be sure to allow time for processing and To Do List updating.

Many students contact us to ask what their decisions mean.  Regular Decision is the first time we release a range of decisions for fall applicants. With Early Action we admit or defer students, but during Regular Decision we offer admission to some, add others to the wait list, and unfortunately, notify some students that we cannot offer them admission. Below is a brief explanation of the various decisions we render.  Many thanks to my colleague Josh who first developed this guide!

Admitted to UMBC: Congratulations! Being offered admission to a college or university is an exciting experience, especially if this is the first college decision letter you’ve received. In your UMBC admission packet you will find a variety of information about the campus and a future at UMBC. Later in the spring we’ll host several receptions and events, on campus and off, for admitted students to get to know UMBC. May 1 is the national deadline to submit an enrollment deposit so take some time to consider what school will be the best fit for you. Also, feel free to share your decision with friends and family, but keep in mind that not everyone received this decision. If you have questions for us, please let us know.

Wait List: In a way, being placed on the wait list is not a decision at all: you’ve not been offered admission, nor have you been denied admission. We place students on the wait list for further review as we learn more about our enrollment numbers. Essentially, as more students submit their enrollment deposit to UMBC we begin to get a better idea of our incoming class and can determine if we can admit students from the wait list. Additional academic information is welcome from wait list applicants; this can include mid-year grades or additional test scores. We do not assign students a number on the wait list; rather the wait list will be reviewed as a whole when the time comes to begin our review. We don’t have an exact notification date for wait list students but we do our best to send decisions by the end of May.

Not offered admission to UMBC: This, of course, is the hardest decision to receive. Believe it or not, it is also the hardest decision to give. We truly value our applicants but the reality of college admissions is that we cannot admit all of our applicants. In the last few years UMBC has experienced significant growth in our applicant pool, and this larger applicant pool has becoming increasingly competitive. We often see students do two things when they receive this decision: 1) try to compare their application with other students, and 2) try to rack their brains on what they “did wrong” on their application.  We discourage students from trying to do either of these things. First of all, it is very difficult to compare students to one another because we consider each applicant individually. As admissions counselors we have the entire application, and while the exact criteria and review process for applications is kept internal, suffice it to say that we consider many factors.  It is also important to remember that students rarely do something “wrong.” As mentioned earlier, we cannot offer admission to all of our applications.  We only have so much space in our incoming class and as such we have to make the decision not to offer admission to some students. If you’re not offered admission please know that you can still attend UMBC later down the line by transferring.

Next Steps: Plenty of emotions come with receiving decision letters from colleges. We’re very excited to get to know our admitted students over the next few months, and we hope to see you here in the fall. If you were placed on the wait list or not offered admission, please know we are still here as a resource. We’re happy to guide you through the process and clear up any questions you may have. One important note: if you do want to follow up with an application decision, we want to hear from the student. Family members, we appreciate you, but your student should be making the call or sending the email. We know parents want to help, but it’s time for our soon-to-be college students to take control of their education.

All the best,


Apply Online By Valentines- What You Need to Know About UMBC’s FAFSA Deadline

There are so many things to look forward to as we begin the month of February- The Superbowl, Valentine’s Day, and UMBC’s FAFSA deadline!

Whether you have applied to UMBC as a freshman back in October or you are a transfer student who intends to apply within the coming weeks, your FAFSA must be submitted by Valentine’s Day- February 14th.

FAFSAFAFSA which stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the first step in making sure that you are considered for financial aid at UMBC. For an explanation of the types of aid that you may receive at UMBC, visit our Financial Aid and Scholarships website here.  While you are exploring the site, don’t forget to check out UMBC’s cost calculator.  Even if you are in the early stages of figuring out how to pay for college, this tool will provide you with some useful insights on the cost of earning a degree at UMBC.

Over these next two weeks, familiarize yourself with these resources and remember… Apply online by Valentine’s Day!


Spring fever, retriever

‘Spring is the air’ and yet, it was a frigid 15 degrees when I stepped out of my car this morning. The second day of classes has commenced on campus and the admissions and orientation crew is working hard with other offices to make sure our newly admitted students are getting the help they need to begin their very own UMBC adventure. Mini orientations are under way for our recently admitted students and the admissions committee is hard at work reading, reading, reading for our Fall 2014 applicants!

Spring is an exciting time because it is a time of renewal and starting fresh! Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Maybe your resolution was to turn a new leaf and improve your GPA, or maybe you want to get more organized and actually GO to those study sessions.  UMBC offers several opportunities to get set and make the most of this year! Check out the Learning Resource Center’s (LRC) website and get started on the right foot this semester http://www.umbc.edu/lrc/

Or maybe your resolution was to get involved to make a difference on campus or in the community! Check out all the opportunities that UMBC offers for students to engage by visiting the website for http://shrivercenter.umbc.edu/  or http://osl.umbc.edu/activities/.

Whether you’re a returning student, a brand new student, or a future retriever, UMBC works hard to make sure students are engaged in their education and in their community. Let the semester begin, UMBC is ready to SPRING into action.

Freshman Deadline Approaching

It’s an exciting time of year in UMBC’s Admissions Office.  Winter Session is coming to an end; the Spring semester begins next week; and prospective freshman continue to submit applications for Fall admission.  The regular decision deadline for freshman applications is fast approaching.  On February 1, the Committee will devote its full attention to evaluating these applications.  Like much of the region, we’ve been hit pretty hard by snow and wind this week, but we’ve kept reading and reading.  We hope your semester is going well, and we anxiously look forward to the first signs of the warmer weather to come!

Photo by Callison Sims '13

Photo by Callison Sims ’13.

Letter Release!

Letters!What a wonderful time of year for Admissions folks! I went from months of travel, spanning North Carolina to Virginia Beach and all over Maryland, to hours of reading YOUR applications. I have been impressed with this year’s applicants, and truly enjoyed reading about your personal stories, contributions to your communities and hard academic work! My favorite part about this whole process is getting to meet so many wonderful students and then helping them through this process. Having hours and hours of hard work culminate in a pile of about 4,300 letters sent to students accross the country and throughout the entire world, is quite the visual. See for yourself!

You have all been waiting patiently, and I am proud to announce that UMBC’s Early Action letters were released yesterday! Everyone in the Admissions Office has been working hard over the past several weeks to get these letters safely to your doors, and we thank you for your patience and diligence in the working with us through Common App troubles and residency updates!

When you start receiving your admissions letters, remember to share your excitement by using the hashtag #UMBCadmit on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram!

Coming Soon: Early Action Decision Letters

I’m seeing the question through phone calls, tweets, emails, and blog comments: When are Early Action decision letters coming?! Soon, my friends…soon.

I know you all worked really hard to submit your applications by November 1, and I promise we’ve been working hard to review those applications. Once your applications arrive we have to process your application and all supporting documents, then your file moves forward for review. Our admissions counseling staff reads every completed application that is submitted, and this year for Early Action that was over 4,500 applications. That means we’re reviewing all 4,500+ applications in a month and a half. Whew! Trust me, that keeps us quite busy.

Now, I tell you that number just to give perspective, not to make excuses. We definitely appreciate your patience, we all know what it is like to wait for those college decisions. Our official notification for Early Action decisions is through the letter we mail. For the Early Action review we send offers of admission, and notification that an application has been deferred to Regular Decision for further consideration. If you receive a deferral letter, don’t be discouraged, our Early Action application period is more competitive than Regular Decision. As I mentioned, Early Action letters are going out soon, and while we don’t provide an exact date you’ll here from us (since, ya know, we use snail mail), you can expect notification before the end of December.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your applications and getting to know next year’s potential class. If you’re still a little anxious, here is a link I’ve provided in the past to help ease a little stress. Enjoy!

When you start receiving your admissions letters, be sure to share your excitement on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram using the hashtag #UMBCadmit

November 1: Our Fall 2014 Early Action Deadline

Well we’ve reached that time of year again, our first deadline for Fall freshmen applicants- the November 1 Early Action deadline. I can tell by the number of calls and emails we’re receiving in our office that you’re anxious, which is normal, but I assure you that you’ll make it through the application process with flying colors. Below are a few of the inquiries we’re currently receiving:

Do all of my items need to be in your office by the deadline?
We require that your application and supporting documents be submitted via Common App by the end of the day on November 1 (technically you have until 11:59 p.m., but why wait that long), or if you’re mailing something to the office, it will simply need to be postmarked by the 1st.

I submitted my application and received your confirmation email, but my myUMBC account shows that items I submitted are missing. What’s up with that? Should I resend stuff?
Once we receive your application and supporting documents we’ll need time to process everything. We have to make sure all these application documents are where they need to be, and then we’ll have to update your online checklist. If you’ve sent everything (or had it sent from your school) you’ve done your part, now you just need to wait for us to process those items. Don’t resend anything (we’ll already have thousands of applications and documents), just allow a few weeks for processing, and if you still see an item on your checklist in mid-to-late November, reach out to our office.

Is there a Writing Supplement to apply to UMBC?
If you’re applying to UMBC you will only see a Writing Supplement on the Common App if you answered “Yes” to being interested in consideration for the Honors College. The Writing Supplement is the application to the Honors College program, and it can be submitted separately from your application for Undergraduate Admission. There are no additional Writing Supplements for the Undergraduate Admissions application.

What should I do if I’m having technical issues with my Common App account?
To resolve any technical issues with your Common App you will need to work with the Help Center of the Common App. Some students are not experiencing any issues and can submit just fine, while others have experienced minor issues like overloaded servers (try submitting at another time, but also a reason to not wait to submit) or other technical issues that need to be fixed by the Common App team. If you have an issue that the Common App team is fixing that prevents you from submitting your application, you can reach out to our office as well.

As you contact our office for assistance we’ll do our best to respond in a timely manner. However, given the increase in inquiries around our deadline, we thank you for your patience. We’re looking forward to reading your applications! Calm your stresses if you can and enjoy your senior year!

Be One Step Closer to UMBC

Hello from the Garden State!

We are just about half way through our busy travel season where we leave UMBC behind to visit high schools near and far and meet with our future Retrievers.

Hopefully you’ve gotten your first glimpse of UMBC from our admissions team at a high school visit or college fair.  So what’s next? In addition to conquering the Common Application (November 1st will be here soon), plan a trip to visit us on campus for one of our admissions events!

Below are two programs that we’ve created just for you.


Is UMBC the school for me? Come find out at our Retriever Visit Days! This program will get you on campus, in the classroom, and pumped about the possibility of becoming a UMBC student.

Event Dates:

Monday, November 11th

Friday, December 6th

Sign Up

Sample Schedule


Are you serious about STEM? Considering applying to one of UMBC’s Scholars programs for students who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math? UMBC’s  CWIT, Cyber, Meyerhoff and Sherman Scholars programs will be hosting a STEM Scholars Preview Day on Monday, November 4th.

Visit the CWIT website for more information on how to SIGN UP for this can’t – miss event!

See you on campus soon!


From Vacation to Orientation- Summer is Almost Here!

It’s been almost a week since my extended Memorial Day vacation ended. After spending the past two weeks on the picture-perfect beaches of Hawaii, I’m ready for summer.  Though I’m slightly depressed that I won’t be waking up every morning and climbing mountains that overlook the crystal-clear Pacific, I’m super excited that ORIENTATION IS LESS THAN ONE WEEK AWAY!

(Not a postcard) Took this gem myself!

(Not a postcard) Took this gem myself!

Yes, this is one of our favorite times of the year as we get to reconnect with the favorite familiar faces of our incoming students and your families. We’ve read your applications, welcomed you to our community at New Student Day and now you officially begin the next chapter of your life as a UMBC Retriever at orientation.

For those of you who still haven’t signed up, time is ticking away and we wouldn’t want you to miss out on this great opportunity to get to know your future classmates and select your courses for the fall. You’ll meet with our OPA’s , take your first crack at belting out our fight song, and if you so choose, leave the day with a souvenir to commemorate your experience!

If you’re reading this thinking that orientation sounds fun but you can’t wait until September to begin your UMBC experience, check out our Freshman Excursion.  Complete with campfires, caving, and plenty of time to connect with your future classmates and some of the coolest people at UMBC (our orientation staff), this will be an experience that you will not forget. This three day program runs from July 23rd- July 25th and spots are filling up quick!

For information on how to sign up for these experiences visit our orientation site here!  Orientation 2013

See you soon!


Graduation Season!

The weather in Maryland can be pretty crazy. In fact this is the first week around here that I think we can all agree has truly felt like May. The combination of ninety degree weather, the sunshine, and the slight breeze has all of us in the office eating lunch outside and craving summer activities.

With the rain and chilly weather last week it was hard to believe that it was already late May. Which means that, like most years, graduation snuck up on us! Our latest class of graduates walked across the stage last week and are now preparing for their futures after UMBC. Some are staying in the Baltimore-DC area to begin jobs, internships, or graduate school, while others are taking off across the world to begin their futures.

Check out some of the amazing things our graduates are doing by checking out the Class of 2013 website. We’re certainly proud of all of our grads and wish them the best of luck in their futures. And to those of you who are graduating from high school in the coming weeks, congratulations!! You’re well on your way to an amazing future. And we’re here to help you get there.