access weekend for underrepresented minorities (aaw) 2022

Michigan Ross Staff and Faculty Lead the Way in College Admissions

As a top-five undergraduate business school, Michigan Ross receives more than 9,000 applications for the undergraduate program every year. Out of those 9,000 applicants, only about 800 students will be offered a spot at Michigan Ross. Choosing who to admit takes careful consideration, an understanding of the many ways students can demonstrate excellence, and a year-long recruitment cycle that brings in a diverse and exceptional pool of candidates.

Recruitment and application review

Starting in August, Admissions Director Blaire Moody Rideout and her team will begin the recruitment process by hosting recruitment events and traveling to high schools to share Michigan Ross with prospective students. 

In order to reach as many prospective students as possible, the team collaborates with different units across Ross and the university, including the University of Michigan Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the Michigan Ross Marketing and Communications Office, and IT. In addition, they work with the Office of Advancement to coordinate alumni outreach events and the Sanger Leadership Center and Zell Lurie Institute to plan fly-in programs that allow first-generation college students to visit campus and partake in a week’s worth of programming.

“The recruiting aspect of admissions is not just about telling students the statistics and what they need to get in. It’s about explaining and showing students what the Michigan Ross experience is like and making sure we are a good fit,” said Moody Rideout.

With an unwavering commitment to recruiting and educating a diverse class of students – and only 800 applications to accept – Moody Rideout and her team must carefully consider many factors throughout the admissions process. For that reason, the team has been carefully and thoughtfully developing a holistic approach to college admissions – one that focuses less on GPA and test scores and more on authentic work and the unique ways that students perform, both in and out of the classroom. 

The Ross Admissions Portfolio

In 2016, the admissions team began transforming the way they reviewed applications for the BBA program by launching the Ross Admissions Portfolio. The portfolio is used to complement the Common Application and provide a better view of the way students learn. It has two main components: a business case discussion where students select an issue in their community to analyze and propose business solutions; and an artifact, an authentic example of student work that helps to bring extracurriculars to life and demonstrate who the student is as a person.

“We’re focused on growth and learning rather than merit and achievement,” said Moody Rideout. “Merit and achievement are oftentimes tied to wealth and privilege, whereas we are looking at how much students are willing to invest in their learning.”

As Michigan Ross is primarily an action-based and collaborative learning institution, the information provided by the Ross Admissions Portfolio also helps to inform how a student may perform in the classroom. 

“Besides a passion for business, we look for students who thrive in environments with hands-on learning and have the ability to work with others to solve problems and innovate,” said Cathy Shakespeare, professor of accounting. “These are qualities that are hard to evaluate from test scores alone, so the Ross Admissions Portfolio helps us to better understand if we are a good fit for the applicants.”

Overall, with the Ross Admissions Portfolio process in place, the admissions team has been able to naturally diversify the class by leaning into authentic student work rather than biased test scores, something that sets Michigan Ross apart from other institutions across the country.

Leading the way in college admissions

In 2018, the Michigan Ross admission process caught the attention of Linda Darling Hammond, a professor at Stanford University and president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization that conducts high-quality research to improve education policy. In the summer of 2019, LPI approached Moody Rideout to participate in a two-year case study. That case study was published in January 2023 and has identified Michigan Ross as an exemplar in the college admission profession.

With the changing landscape of college admissions, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action, the results of the case study are especially important. While the ruling does not have a direct effect on the current admissions process at Michigan Ross, it may have a greater impact on higher education. For that reason, the work of the Michigan Ross admissions team was highlighted in a New York Times opinion piece titled ‘How to Fix College Admissions Now.’ The article identified the Ross Admissions Portfolio as an example for other schools to follow.

“With the Ross Admissions Portfolio, we are redefining how schools can approach merit,” said Moody Rideout. “I think what we have to recognize is that deep learning happens at every high school, despite what curriculum is offered. As admissions professionals, we need to find a way to analyze that to even the playing field.”

Similar Posts