Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has recently unveiled a new guaranteed admissions policy, sparking a range of reactions from its student body. While the policy aims to attract top-performing students, concerns about its implications on housing and the overall VCU experience have emerged.

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Key Takeaways:

  • The university will automatically accept first-year applicants who rank in the top 10% of their high school class or have a GPA of 3.5 or above.
  • Prospective students can apply via the Common App, submitting only their high school transcript for consideration.
  • The policy has raised eyebrows among some students, with worries about housing shortages and potential impacts on diversity and equity.
  • Other universities, including George Mason and Radford, are considering similar admissions strategies.

Virginia Commonwealth University, as reported by Riley Wyant on, has taken a bold step in reshaping its admissions process. The newly introduced policy guarantees admission to applicants who either stand out as the top 10% of their high school graduating class or boast a high school GPA of 3.5 or above. The application process has been streamlined for this pilot program, requiring students to apply through the Common App and submit their high school transcript, eliminating the need for additional paperwork.

The rationale behind this initiative is clear: VCU aims to attract the best and brightest students, enhancing the university’s academic reputation. However, the policy hasn’t been met with universal acclaim. Freshman Kendall McKay voiced concerns about the potential limitations on diversity, stating that the policy seems to target a specific type of student:

“I think it does exclude a lot of groups of people and limits diversity because you’re only looking for one specific type of student.”

Another freshman, Sidnie Duncan, highlighted the challenges underprivileged students face, emphasizing the unfairness of using GPA as the sole determinant of their future at VCU. 

“It’s just not fair to them to have just their GPA be the thing that determines their future. They can’t pay for tutors, they can’t pay to stay after school because they have to work a job, and they’re focused on other things.”

For many, external factors such as work commitments or the inability to afford tutors can impact academic performance, making a GPA-centric approach seem inequitable.

Beyond the concerns about equity and diversity, a more immediate issue looms: housing. Duncan expressed shock at the policy, noting that the university already struggles with accommodating its current student population. McKay expressed the same opinions, pointing out that many students currently reside in unconventional spaces like lounges and TV rooms due to a lack of available housing. Through a spokesperson, the university acknowledged these concerns, stating that they are actively working to address housing needs. However, the students’ interactions with NBC12 reporters painted a less rosy picture, with some mentioning that they’ve been placed in hotels due to the lack of space.

While VCU did not respond to NBC12’s request for an interview, it’s worth noting that this move towards guaranteed admissions isn’t unique to VCU. Other Virginia-based institutions, such as George Mason and Radford, are also contemplating similar policies.


While VCU’s new admissions policy aims to elevate its academic standing by attracting top-tier students, it’s evident that the university will need to address the concerns and challenges raised by its current students to ensure a smooth transition and maintain its reputation.


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