The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

University of Maryland decisions raise concern for many

Dylan+Steinberg+logs+into+his+UMD+portal+to+look+at+his+application+status.+He+got+admitted+into+the+honors+college+and+is+considering+UMD+as+his+top+choice.
Leo Holma
Dylan Steinberg logs into his UMD portal to look at his application status. He got admitted into the honors college and is considering UMD as his top choice.

University of Maryland (UMD) is a highly prestigious school that has been getting significantly more competitive over the years. This year, many seniors submitted early action applications on Nov. 1, and when decisions were released on Jan. 26 at 5:00 p.m., students were sitting, refreshing their tabs, awaiting their decision letters. WJ’s applicant pool this year of 353 students has experienced the increasing difficulty of getting accepted, as there was a large amount of deferrals, rejections and admittance to other semesters, leaving many students frustrated.

UMD acceptance rates have undoubtedly been going down for the past couple years. In 2016 their early action acceptance rate was 48.1%, while just six years later in 2022 it was 44%. This has changed how many people view UMD. It’s no longer a safety school but a target instead. This year, many WJ students have put in mass amounts of hard work to ensure their acceptance to UMD.

“I was very excited about getting accepted. It is very rewarding to know that my hard work in high school has paid off. UMD is a great school and has a great engineering program so I’m looking forward to possibly going there,” senior Dylan Steinberg said.

Many students’ hard work was well worth the extra stress as some were admitted into the UMD honors program. This is a very prestigious program with approximately 1,050 students in the freshman class being accepted each year. This is a very small proportion, especially considering how there were 26,750 admitted students in 2023.

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“Since UMD has such a large student body, I’m looking forward to the smaller community that the honors program will create. I think it will make navigating a large school much easier,” senior Rose Macdermott said.

Others, many equally qualified and hardworking, received rejection letters. Although the data for this year has not been released, last year, roughly 50% of all applicants were denied and it is expected to be even higher this year.

“Although UMD was not my top choice, it would have still been a good choice to have, but I am not worried about it too much. I have better options out of state which I was considering more,” senior Evan Geiss said.

This leaves many students upset that the best option in their state has become so hard to get into. This is also a financial burden, since UMD would have allowed students to get a strong education while paying in-state fees, typically lower than other public and private schools.

“While I was fortunate to be admitted, I think despite UMD becoming a more prestigious school because of its low acceptance rate, it is also bad because it takes away a cheap option for in-state kids,” senior Haden Rogers said.

Some WJ students have also been accepted into the spring semester. Although that outcome may not be ideal for some, there are many ways to make it work where it is still a good choice. There is a program called Freshman Connection where students take classes as they normally would but later in the afternoon when classes aren’t full. Students in the program can live in dorms and then when spring comes, they can fully enroll on the same track as anyone who enrolled in the fall. This is the case for senior Micah Goldstein.

“I was disappointed because I had originally been hoping to get in fall semester but when I heard how many people got denied, I was happy I could at least go. I’m frustrated by the fact that UMD is so difficult to get into when other strong universities are much easier to get into. I wish that that could change, too,” Goldstein said.

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Leo Holma, Film Editor
Leo Holma is thrilled to be working with The Pitch for his first year as a Film Editor. Outside of The Pitch, Leo enjoys playing soccer for fun.
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