The Class of 2026 and admissions during the pandemic


Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks' Herald

RWU accepted 7,300 out of 8,000 applications from potential students.

Accepted Students Days took over the Roger Williams University campus on March 26 and 27 and April 2 and 3, and has left current students wondering: What is the class of 2026 like?

Dean of Admission Amanda Marsili gave some insight into what can be expected from the incoming class.

Marsili said that RWU received over 8,000 applications this year, and 7,300 of those applications were accepted. This admission season — From July 1 to the current day — provided over 4,000 tours.

“We have a holistic application review process so we look at all the components of a student’s application and identify potential in students in a multitude of areas,” said Marsili. “It is important to note that we have maintained the average GPA of the students being accepted over the last few years.”

With over 1,300 people attending the Accepted Students Day events, Marsili said there was a welcoming atmosphere and a positive response from the students and their families.

“Many were very appreciative and happy to be in person and seeing the campus first hand,” said Marsili. “Much of the feedback revolved around the positive interactions with faculty and staff and pleasure with the information obtained during the academic presentations, and many also noted the welcoming campus community.”

As for what events the students were able to take part in, she said RWU offers students a preview of what learning in the classroom will be like with academic presentations as well as allowing them to find out more about clubs, organizations, sports, and campus offices with a Life Outside the Classroom Fair. Students also got to tour residence halls and try RWU food.

Marsili said Accepted Students Day events have a meaningful effect on enrollment.

“We know that when students visit campus and interact with our campus community – faculty, staff and current students, that they are significantly more likely to yield. So having these events is really vital to our ability to enroll a new class,” said Marsili. “We regularly survey students who have enrolled and those who have not enrolled and in both cases students always list interactions with faculty and staff as one of the most important deciding factors.”

The college admissions process has been impacted severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides a decrease in in-person college fairs and high school visits, Marsili said there is also the issue of if other universities that went standardized test optional will make them mandatory again or not. RWU has been test optional for over a decade.

Hosting some events virtually will continue to be a part of RWU’s visit experience.
In regard to admissions planning during the pandemic, Marsili said, “We needed to adapt and be flexible and we will have to continue to be nimble as we continue to navigate the unknowns. We had to pivot quickly to figure out how to still recruit and yield students when we couldn’t use traditional methods so you saw a lot of virtual opportunities being created.”

Overall, Marsili said she is excited for students of the class of 2026 to experience life at RWU.

“We know that we offer students a wonderful overall experience -from academics to co-curricular opportunities and are just excited for them to join the community, learn from our impressive faculty and staff and enjoy all the opportunities available to them including our vibrant student life, study abroad and engaged learning opportunities.”