Frequently Asked Questions
While the PC Admission staff is always more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the college search and application process, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about:
Do you give additional weight to Honors or Advanced Placement courses in the application process?
When reviewing a student’s high school transcript, we take a close look at the availability of Honors and Advanced Placement courses at each particular high school, and then we evaluate what the student has taken advantage of in his/her course of study. Each student’s curriculum is given a rating, which ensures that all Honors and Advanced Placement courses he/she may be taking are given weight. We then look at a student’s GPA on an unweighted 4.0 scale and use both the GPA and strength of curriculum rating to assist in our candidate evaluation.
How do you evaluate rank in the application review? What if my high school doesn’t rank?
Over half our applicants to Providence College last year came from high schools where a rank is not provided. It is never held against a student when a high school does not provide a rank. When rank is available, it provides a helpful context for the candidate’s place in relation to the rest of the graduating class, but the Committee on Admission has never employed a “cut-off” to eliminate students from consideration based on a certain rank percentage.
One of the primary reasons why the Committee on Admission recalculates a GPA for each candidate and places a significant emphasis on the strength of the curriculum is to assure consistent data points for each applicant. The strength of curriculum and GPA provide us with a much more concrete objective measurement when considering each candidate’s total high school performance.
Is there an advantage to applying Early Action as opposed to Regular Decision?
The standards used for the admission review are the same for the Early Action and Regular Decision groups. Most importantly, when considering Early Action, the Committee on Admission wants you to make the choice that is best for you in your overall college search. When considering Early Action you want to be confident that you are presenting the best application possible by the November 1 deadline, meaning you are satisfied with your standardized test scores and you feel that your curriculum and academic success will remain fairly consistent in your senior year, as we will only see your academic work through the junior year.
Please note: A deny decision at the Early Action stage is a final decision; the student will not be reviewed again in the Regular Decision process.
Is it easier to gain admission by applying Early Action?
While the acceptance rate for Early Action students is higher when compared to the Regular Decision pool, this difference is driven by the fact that the Early Action applicant pool is significantly stronger than the Regular Decision applicant pool. Our goal is to admit the students who present the strongest academic preparation with the personal qualities and interests that are a match to Providence College, regardless of when they choose to apply.
Do you give preference to children of PC alumni?
Having a parent or sibling who has attended Providence College is part of who you are as an applicant, and we are always cognizant of maintaining family traditions at PC. It is information that we take into consideration as we review your application for admission; however, it is not a guarantee of admission, rather one piece of the larger puzzle.
How many letters of recommendation should I submit?
At Providence College, we require two recommendations: one from your guidance counselor or college advisor, and one from a teacher of your choice. You may submit additional letters of recommendation, but if you choose to do so, make sure that these extra letters are sharing different information about you with the Committee on Admission. For instance, you don’t need letters from two different English teachers, as we will be receiving similar information from both. Rather, you may want to consider asking a teacher from an area you’re interested in majoring in, or perhaps a teacher who you have had as a coach or club advisor. Other individuals outside of the high school environment that can write substantive recommendations include employers, community service coordinators, or religious leaders.
Should activities and employment that I am involved in outside of my high school be listed on my extracurricular resume?
Absolutely! We want to know everything that you may be involved in, whether or not it is sponsored by your high school. Part-time employment, involvement in your church community, and family responsibilities are all important ways that you spend your time. We want to know about the activities you are most passionate about and everything is considered in our review of your application.
How important is the application essay?
The application essay allows the Committee on Admission to hear your voice, and also gives us a sense of your writing ability. Use the essay to discuss something that is personal to you, and don’t forget to spend some time revising and proofing your final copy before you send it with your application. The Common Application gives you six broad topics, including “Topic of your Choice,” allowing you to freely express your thoughts and ideas about anything. Remember: every piece of the application, including the essay, is a representation of you and you want to put your best foot forward!
If I have extenuating circumstances that I want to make PC aware of, how should I convey that information?
If there are issues or circumstances that you need to explain in greater detail to the Committee on Admission, we encourage you to take advantage of the Additional Information section of the Common Application. By providing us with more information about yourself and your high school career, we are able to more fully evaluate your entire application.
Are AP, IB and/or Dual Enrollment credits accepted?
AP, IB and Dual Enrollment credits are evaluated by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies and then accordingly applied.
In order to receive credit for AP courses, students must score a 4 or a 5 on the AP exam. For IB credit, students must score a 5 or better on the Higher Level IB exams. Providence College requires that dual enrollment courses are taught on a college campus and by a full-time college instructor. These courses must also exceed the student’s high school graduation requirements. For these reasons, dual enrollment credit is rarely granted at Providence College.
Students who are granted AP, IB, or dual enrollment credit are still required to complete the College’s full-time, eight-semester requirement.
The Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies’ website offers more information on transfer credit.
Cost and Merit Scholarships
What is the breakdown of tuition costs?
The breakdown of tuition and fees is provided by the Bursar’s Office.
How are Merit Scholarships awarded and what are the criteria for receiving one?
The Committee on Admission will make selections for various merit scholarships. Please review further information on the selection process and scholarship amounts.
Do I have to apply for need-based financial aid in order to be considered for a Merit Scholarship?
No. If the only type of aid you are interested in is merit-based, you do not have to submit the FAFSA or CSS Profile forms.
What is the role religion plays in student life at Providence College?
Since its founding in 1917, Providence College has been under the auspices of the Dominican Friars, a Religious Order within the Catholic Church, whose motto and mission is the preaching and teaching of “Veritas” (Truth) wherever any of its traces can be found. Currently, more than forty Dominicans live on-campus, both in the St. Thomas Aquinas Priory and among the students in the residence halls.
Our College’s mission statement indicates our reason for being, namely that the Dominican tradition of quality teaching and scholarship “actively cultivates intellectual, spiritual, ethical and aesthetic values within the Judeo-Christian heritage.” Our academic curriculum exemplifies this mission; within the core curriculum, six (6) credits of theology are required, and these courses compliment others being studied.
Approximately 65% of the students attending Providence College identify themselves as Catholic. Through the Campus Ministry Center, a wide variety of opportunities are available for a student to be involved in the College’s spiritual life. While the opportunity for student participation in the liturgical life of the College exists, attendance at Mass is optional. In addition, the College’s Campus Ministry Organization supports more than a thousand students, young men and women from a variety of different faith paths, who are encouraged to consider the wide array of service opportunities that accent that special dimension of the College’s life with the unique and personal importance of our Catholic heritage.
Is on-campus housing guaranteed for four years?
On-campus housing is guaranteed and required for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. While seniors are not guaranteed housing, there has rarely been an instance where a student who wished to live on campus was denied the opportunity. Each year about 50% of seniors opt to live off-campus, often within a half-mile radius of PC’s campus, thus allowing all students who wish to live on campus to do so.
Are students allowed to have cars on campus?
Freshmen and sophomores are not allowed to have cars on campus, given limited parking availability. It is very easy, however, to get around the city without a car by taking advantage of the PC Student Shuttle and the state of Rhode Island’s RIPTA Bus System. PC students are able to ride any RIPTA bus for free simply by showing their student I.D. card.