Optional photos on applications help admissions officers remember certain students as they sort through the submissions of thousands of prospective TCU students, university officials said.
Sending in a photo is up to students. It will not eliminate consideration for admission nor count against them in any way, Chancellor Victor Boschini said. Other schools Boschini said he has been at request a photo as well.
“Students don’t have to send in a picture,” Boschini said. “However, it’s to the students’ advantage to have it because it helps us to remember them out of 7,000 applicants.”
Each admissions officer reviews more than 1,000 applications a year. Of these, many applicants are contacted for a one-on-one interview with the admissions officer in charge of reviewing applicants from the state in which they reside. Due to escalated application numbers, being remembered is an advantage, Boschini said.
“I have mixed emotions about it because I don’t want anyone to think physical appearances are what students are remembered or considered for,” said Ray Brown, dean of admissions.
Brown said the admissions office received it’s highest number of applicants for next fall, torpedoing past last year’s 7,654 applicants. He said photos have always been part of the optional section of applications.
Though the admissions office has received more applications, the number of pictures sent in with those applications still remains roughly 20 percent, Brown said.
Brown said he and other admissions officials review pictures but do not profile students in any way. He said he hardly even looks at them.
“I get to meet so many students, as many as 2,000 a year, so having a face to go with a name is helpful,” Brown said. “However, we really want to know what is in their head and hearts, not what they look like.”
Some students questioned the practice.
“I think it’s unnecessary to judge an applicant in any way based on what their profile looks like,” junior marketing major Erin Kreider said. “If a student fits all requirements for TCU, what does it matter what they look like?”
Photos give students an additional opportunity to show creativity and distinguish themselves, Brown said. Students can send in whatever picture they want. The most memorable are funny or creative photos, but high school senior pictures are the ones normally sent, Brown said.
“I always admire those that take risks, and those who send in creative pictures are a rarity,” Brown said.
The most original pictures make it on the admissions application board in the office, Brown said. The admissions office has received group pictures with the applicant’s face circled, students with their pets and even those superimposed onto a glossy with Hollywood celebrities.