The Review Process
Your completed application to Providence College is the best representation of who you are and what makes you a great candidate for admission. The admission review process at Providence College is holistic and includes:
- High school transcript
- Activities, involvement, and leadership
- Personal Statement and Supplemental Essay
- Letters of recommendation
Evaluation of the High School Transcript
The high school transcript is the most important piece of the application review process at Providence College. With each high school transcript, our admission counselors will take a close look at a student’s curriculum, context of high school environment, grades achieved, and class rank (if available).
Generally speaking, students who are most competitive for admission to Providence College have taken 4 years of the 5 core subject areas:
- History/social science
- Foreign language
Our most competitive candidates have also taken appropriately challenging Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or other advanced-level courses offered to them in their high school environments.
The grades that a student has achieved during high school are considered hand-in-hand with that student’s curriculum. It is important to note that the Office of Admission completes a recalculation process of each student’s grade point average in order to consider applicants from different high schools fairly. Only the grades achieved in core academic subjects – plus Religion courses where applicable and electives taken at the Honors, AP, or IB level – will be included in the recalculated grade point average.
Context of a student’s high school environment is another important factor that the committee on admission considers during the evaluation of each candidate’s application. The initial review of all application files is conducted by geographic region, which helps each member of the counseling staff to understand the academic environment, opportunities for advanced coursework, and other special programs that may be available within a specific high school.
Class rank will be considered during the review process if it is provided by a student’s high school. However, many high schools do not report class rank during the college application process. Students will not be penalized in the admission review if their high school does not provide class rank information.
Activities, Involvement, and Leadership
The application review process at Providence College is holistic. One of the important factors our admission staff will consider is your list of co-curricular activities. We are proud of our active and vibrant campus community, and seek to invite new students who have demonstrated strong involvement beyond the classroom.
When the admission committee reviews your co-curricular activities, it is important to remember that we are much more interested in the quality and depth of your involvement rather than the quantity. Instead of looking for the student with the longest list of activities during high school, we are more interested in commitment and dedication to activities, and leadership roles that a student has held. Two or three activities to which a student has been committed to and perhaps held a leadership role will have a more significant impact on the Committee on Admission than a lengthy list of activities on which a student has only shown “surface-level” involvement.
Also remember that the activities you write about in your application need not be limited to your high school environment. Involvement with a community organization, church group, or part-time job represents a significant time commitment after school for many students, and we encourage you to share these experiences with us on your application as well. If you have held a part-time job, please share with us the amount of time you have worked each week, and whether you worked during the school year or the summer (or both!). Information about your involvement beyond your high school campus helps the Committee on Admission develop a more complete picture of who you are on a personal level as we complete the review of your application.
The Personal Statement and Supplemental Essays
Common Application Essay
The Common Application requires all applicants to complete one essay. The essay is an important piece of your college application as it allows you to reveal something meaningful outside of the academic realm to the committee on admission. The Common Application provides seven broad essay prompts from which you can choose.
At Providence College, the admission staff uses the Common Application Personal Statement two ways: to learn more about you on a personal level and to get a sense of your writing ability. From your essay, we hope to gain an understanding of the things about which you are passionate and the issues you find important. The strongest essays we receive allow us to gain a sense of a student’s personality and provide a better understanding of the student’s personal fit to the Providence College community.
As a liberal arts institution, a student’s ability to express himself or herself in writing is important to the committee on admission. Remember that spelling and grammar “count,” and you should work to make sure that your essay is well-written and well-presented.
Optional Providence College Essay
Found under the “Additional Questions” section of the Providence College Member Page (within the Common Application), the Optional Providence College essay provides applicants with the opportunity to speak to their specific interest in PC. While completing this statement is optional, we encourage all students to take advantage of the opportunity to explain why they see Providence College as an appropriate match and fit. Should a student choose to complete an optional essay, they select one of the flowing prompts and limit their response to 250-500 words.
The Optional Providence College Essay prompts for the Class of 2023 are:
“We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.” –St. Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Philosopher.
Providence College students have always engaged in disputatio—lively intellectual debates through the art of disputed questions. At Providence, there is often not one correct answer, but rather many answers that come together to form one truth. In a divided society filled with strong opinions, how would you work to ensure all viewpoints are considered and the ultimate truth is discovered?
As Providence College educates future scholars and leaders, it continuously strives to form a community that reflects the rich diversity of the human family. Please highlight a specific example throughout your time in high school that has strengthened and promoted the flourishing of all and explain how you will use this experience to make an impact on the Providence College community.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation play an important role in our holistic application review process at Providence College. For first-year applicants, we require 2 letters of recommendation from:
- One from a school counselor or college advisor
- One from a teacher in an academic discipline
The recommendation from the school counselor provides helpful context of the student’s four-year high school career, ideally bringing to light things about the student that may not be apparent from simply looking at the high school transcript. Counselors are often able to provide useful context for the student’s academic performance, and explain any special circumstances (i.e. schedule conflicts, personal situations, or medical issues) that may have arisen during the high school career. The counselor recommendation also helps us to understand where the student stands in relation to his or her high school classmates, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Students may select any academic teacher that they have had in the classroom during high school to submit their teacher recommendation. Generally, the committee on admission prefers a recommendation from an English teacher or from a teacher in a content area relevant to the applicant’s intended major.
Applicants may send an additional letter of recommendation from someone other than a teacher who knows the applicant well outside of the classroom. Each year, we receive helpful letters of recommendation from coaches, advisors, mentors, and managers at students’ places of employment. We welcome these recommendations as they help the committee on admission to learn more about who a student is beyond the classroom.