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Admissions representative explains what Biola looks for in students

Beyond academic performance, admissions looks for fully rounded, spiritually fit prospective students.

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Admissions representative explains what Biola looks for in students

Photo Courtesy of Biola Admissions

Photo Courtesy of Biola Admissions

Photo Courtesy of Biola Admissions

Michelle Gurrola, Freelance Writer

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Admitted students filled campus on Monday, April 8 with Biola drawstring bags hanging on their backs and lanyards around their necks. They toured campus, visited classes and tried to see if Biola was the place for them with the May 1 decision deadline quickly approaching.

Ranked among the top Christian colleges in California, Biola is selective in candidates acceptable for admissions. Biola admissions looks to admit students of exceptional Christ-like character along with suitable academic ability.

Sophomore graphic design major Selah Gallardo recalls a quick application experience.

“It was fairly quick,” Gallardo said. “Getting everything together wasn’t too difficult.”

She often visited campus as her brother alumnus Eddie Gallardo attended. Being exposed to the campus encouraged Gallardo to apply to Biola and pursue her passion of graphic design, for which Gallardo did not need to submit a portfolio before acceptance.

“I don’t want to say my grades were stellar,” Gallardo said. “I did my best. Maybe, a little above average. I didn’t do many extracurriculars.”

SEARCHING FOR THE NEXT STUDENT

Freshman admissions representative Micah Elmore explains what Biola searches for when reviewing applications.

“We look into the whole candidate. When I review applications, I am looking for ways I can admit students, not deny them. I look for anything,” Elmore said.

Furthermore, Gallardo believes it was her essay that secured her admission.

“I think it was my willingness to learn and grow in my relationship with God,” Gallardo said. “When they asked why I wanted to come here, I wanted to come to further impact the world for Christ.”

Elmore explained Biola holds minimum requirements for academic standings based on GPA, SAT and ACT score reports. However, the weight of whether Biola is a fit for a student weighs strong to the faith.

“We are an all-Christian community,” Elmore said. “Not all students will meet our [academic] requirements. [For lower scoring students] we do what we can, but every student we accept is a professing Christian.”

Elmore clarified an assumption that Biola accepts students of the Christian faith leniently without considering academics.

“We do not blindly admit students,” Elmore said. “Never has it been up to me or my preference of the student. We go off the established guidelines of grades and spiritual fitness.”

WHAT IF A STUDENT IS A GREAT SPIRITUAL FIT, BUT IS NOT SHOWN TO BE ACADEMICALLY SUITED FOR BIOLA?

Elmore explained one factor must weigh heavier than the other when considering the students overall fit. Admissions encounters instances where a student may struggle to meet Biola’s GPA standards based on personal circumstances. However, admissions still carefully considers standardized testing, previous academic classes and teacher recommendations when considering the students fit for Biola.

“Unlike other schools, we don’t have a cap on the number of students we can accept,” Elmore said.  “If we receive 6,000 applications from admissible students, we will admit all 6,000. Of course, this is different than limits per departments.”

According to Elmore, an applicant’s legacy status is not a factor in their acceptance.

“If you are admissible to Biola, you will get in,” Elmore said. “We follow our spiritual and academic guidelines. It does not make a difference to me [if you have connections to the university].”  

Feeder programs are common among higher education institutions. These programs are supported by colleges, exposing high school students to the opportunity to attend the institution. However, Elmore added that participation in these programs does not change the fact that admissions have standards.

“Every student must fit our general guidelines which are on our admissions website,” Elmore said.

After looking at which qualities make an acceptable candidate, a representative may defer admission to a student who may have extreme difficulty fitting into Biola.

“The only thing I can think of is a social fit not being the best,” Elmore said. “A [poor] social fit would mean if the student had a serious history of self-harm or in causing harm to others. Even then, I don’t think I have ever deferred any student because of this. As a university, we will usually ensure they have the proper support to walk through the situation in their lives.”

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Great article Michelle! Loved the detail in it, great sources.

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