The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy offered admission to 79 students out of a pool of 200 applicants for the Class of 2021, with an admission rate of 40 percent on March 7. The offer rate has gone down. In the fall of 2018 and 2017, 86 students and 84 students were admitted respectively. However, since Batten has not yet released information regarding final decisions from accepted students, although decisions were due March 14th, there are no official demographic statistics for the Class of 2021.
This year, students who received offers are predominantly female and white-identifying, making up 64 percent and 76 percent of the admitted pool respectively, although the diversity of accepted students has increased in the last two years.
The number of admitted students who identify as black or African American has more than doubled since last year. Admitted African American students now represent 13 percent of the population, compared to 6 percent in the graduating class of 2020. The number of students who identify as Asian/Asian American and Hispanic/Latinx has also increased this year. Asian/Asian Americans make up nine percent and Hispanic/Latinx nine percent of accepted students.
Furthermore, one percent of admitted students classify themselves as Native American and six percent as other. Applicants were able to identify as multiple races/ethnicities. This is the first year since 2009 that Batten has extended offers to Native American students. However, this year’s class does not include Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, whereas, in the fall of 2017, this population made up one percent.
The increased diversity in the applicant pool, according to the Director of Undergraduate Admissions Anne Mitchell Carter Mulligan, could be attributed to “targeted outreach to underrepresented students and incredibly engaged student orgs at Batten which focus explicitly on issues of equity and diversity.”
Mulligan added that recruiting diversity is an important task to the Batten School to prepare students for the range of perspectives and experiences they will face as policy leaders.
One of the newest organizations in Batten is the Batten Latinx Network founded by third-year Batten student Brian Zuluaga last year with some of his classmates. Zuluaga extended UVA’s Latinx Network with the purpose of recruiting more diverse candidates, like himself.
In the last year, BLN has hosted workshops on admissions and the application process, such as Spring and Fall Blast. Spring and Fall Blast are annual events for potential Hispanic/Latinx students to meet with current students to learn about possible cultural and student life experiences at the University. Spring and Fall Fling are similar programs for black students. Both initiatives are held by the Office of Undergraduate Admission at the University.
Going forward, Zuluaga hopes to work closely with the new undergraduate dean of Batten, who has not been selected yet, but will take office in the fall of 2019, replacing current Dean Allan C. Stam.
Batten has also focused on recruiting first-generation students, Mulligan said. The school has made early efforts at reaching first-generation students, such as hosting first-generation listening sessions.
Currently, according to data released by the Batten office of undergraduate admissions, five percent of invitations to the Class of 2021 include first-generation students, compared to 10 percent of the general University population.
Of the candidates for 2021, more than 60 percent have a GPA of 3.6 or higher, although GPA is only one criterion in the admissions process. Students’ leadership experience, extracurricular activities and interest in policy also factor into decisions.
“We look at students holistically to get a sense of the way their passion and vision complement their academic achievements, because we want to graduate students who will go out into the world and be ethical, effective leaders in their chosen fields, whatever those fields may be,” Mulligan said.
Brynna Gaffney, second-year College student and recently admitted Batten student, decided to apply to Batten after taking a few introductory level Batten courses because she had “walked away from each feeling challenged but absolutely immersed in the content and its applications for the real world.”
“Batten features a curriculum that emphasizes tangible skills and real life situations, which is how my mind works,” Gaffney said. Gaffney is one of the 79 admitted students who has decided to accept her offer to Batten.