An Inside Look at SU Admission
August 01, 2020
Our Application Opens August 1
We use four applications and operate under the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy. Please pick the application that makes the most sense for you as you apply to all of your schools. With no application fee, we hope that applying to Southwestern is a seamless process. By checking your personal application portal on a regular basis, you will be able to see when your file is complete or when materials need additional attention.
Southwestern implemented a test-optional policy in fall 2019. It is very apparent that taking tests this fall is going to be challenging, if not virtually impossible; therefore, we continue to emphasize our test-optional policy for the class of 2025. In lieu of a test score, our admission counselors are excited to engage with you in a conversational interview.
These interviews are not academic inquisitions; they are an opportunity for us to learn about your educational goals and for you to learn more about Southwestern. If you come to visit campus, we would love to interview you in person—face mask to face mask and socially distanced. If your schedule or travel plans don’t allow that, we look forward to engaging with you via an electronic option (e.g., Zoom, Google Meets, or Skype) or the phone.
We have also removed the testing requirement for homeschool students and, again, look forward to interviewing you, too!
Finally, we have omitted the testing requirements from our competitive scholarships. We will be placing a greater emphasis on the whole application—especially the academic component and the interview—in our competitive scholarship process.
If you have previously taken a test and you are interested in submitting your score, we will welcome it, but we are de-emphasizing testing this entire recruiting season and do not want you to stress about trying to take a test. Schedule an interview, and let’s have fun getting to know one another!
Junior-Year and Senior-Year Grades
Southwestern places the greatest emphasis on your academic record in our admission review process; this has been the case for more than 100 years. Last spring, though, grades were awarded in a very different and unique way because the learning environments were completely different as COVID-19 transitioned your high school to online learning. Considering that each school and school district implemented different policies that may have affected your GPA or your class rank, we have determined that we will exclude spring 2020 from our admission review and scholarship calculation process.
As you return to school this fall, we recognize that you, again, may find yourself learning online. Don’t fret! We hope that you will put forward your best effort and take advantage of an incredible senior year.
Missed Extracurricular Activities
For many of you, your extracurricular activities have been disrupted by the pandemic. We understand this and empathize with you because it means you have halted your participation in athletics, the arts, leadership, and service opportunities. Many of these activities shape you personally and allow us to see who you are beyond your academics. As the Southwestern Experience will also combine your in- and out-of-class passions, we love looking at your current passions as a part of your application. Be sure to let us know what you have accomplished from your freshman fall semester to your junior fall semester, and then let us know how you will be engaged in your senior year. And don’t be shy; this is the place for you to brag about your out-of-classroom experiences, work experiences, and passions!
Although your list may be limited, please know that we recognize that this will be the case for every applicant and you will not be penalized in our admission and scholarship review process because of these changes. However, if you have done something unique during this unique time, we look forward to learning about how you have spent your “Coronacation.”
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Paying for college is always a concern for families. We recognize that many of our families have been financially impacted by COVID-19, either with job loss or medical expenses, and we want to acknowledge this up front.
When Southwestern implemented its test-optional policy in 2019, we redesigned our merit scholarship program to recognize those students who choose to submit scores and those who choose to go test optional. Given that testing will play an even lesser role in the admission process this year, we have updated our scholarship program to put a greater emphasis on each applicant’s overall academic record. We believe this will be the best way to recognize your scholarly success.
As your FAFSA will not reflect your family’s most recent financial situation, we encourage you to file your FAFSA as soon as it opens in October. Then, once you receive your financial-aid package from Southwestern, discuss any unique situations your family may have experienced throughout this time with your admission officer. If your situation warrants a review of your financial-aid package, we will work with you to appeal your financial aid.
The admission team believes in the power of a visit to the Southwestern University campus. We know that by seeing the place you might call home, meeting the faculty you may learn from, and interacting with the students who will be your classmates can give you the most accurate picture of our community.
We are now open to prospective students and families, and we welcome you to campus for a daily visit—a campus tour with one of our engaging students and an information session with a member of our admission staff—under a set of protocols that provide a safe environment for you and our community. Although we will not be able to offer you a chance to sit in on a class, we will offer opportunities for you to chat virtually with faculty later this fall.
We have also created a robust virtual visit page, where you can visit our residence halls, see our students in action after hours, tour the Georgetown community, and much more. We encourage you to take advantage of these virtual options, and if there is something more that you would like to see, please let us know so that we can connect you with the programs and departments that are important to you.
The Focus Is on You
As we all walk this unique journey, we hope that you will remember that you are the most important part of our work. We cannot wait to get to know you and help you learn more about the Southwestern that we know and love. We encourage you to read the emails that we send over the next several months as they will provide you with the opportunity to see Southwestern from different perspectives. Please connect with your admission counselor to answer any questions you have and engage with us virtually until you can visit campus.
Together, we will make your college-search experience a positive one. Here’s to a great senior year!