Maddie Schmidt waited anxiously all day until 6 p.m.
Since submitting her application to UF back in September, the 18-year-old senior at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia, has anticipated the school’s decision for months. On Friday night, Schmidt was one of 14,866 applicants who opened the portal to find the same message. “Congratulations!” the screen read.
“I was very relieved,” she said. “UF has always been my dream.”
Out of the 40,849 applications UF received for the class of 2022, the school accepted 36 percent, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando wrote in an email. The university expects 43 percent of the students accepted—about 6,400 students—will choose to attend UF.
The average GPA was 4.4 for the 11,741 admitted for Fall 2018. Orlando said 3,125 admitted for Summer B.
Although more than 1,000 more applicants were accepted this year than last year, admission rates for the Innovation Academy and Pathway to Campus Enrollment were less than last year. IA admitted less than a third less than the 979 accepted from class of 2021, and PaCE accepted 2,271 applicants, 149 less than last year.
Schmidt said she was admitted for the Fall and plans to study in the College of Journalism and Communications. She wants to be a sports broadcaster one day.
After the good news, she took to Twitter to announce her acceptance. UF saw her post and replied with a GIF.
Orlando said UF’s social media team had been working for weeks on a new social media scheme to make admitted students feel excited and welcome.
Social media specialist Ryan Morejon, one of seven members of the social media team, said they started planning in early January creative ways to interact with students on the platforms they use, like Twitter and Instagram.
But, not everything can be planned for. Morejon said his team had to adapt when Instagram’s new GIF sticker feature launched less than three weeks ago. The GIF stickers are animated icons users can paste over their pictures. The team designed more than 20 stickers, including a dancing Albert Gator and a ‘UF22’ animation.
Morejon said the stickers were one of their most popular posts on decision day, bringing in about 15 million views.
GIFs, photos and memes are incredibly useful tools, especially when it can be hard trying to reach thousands of different students in a way that is still personal and organic, Morejon said.
“You want to make these students feel like they’re part of a family, part of a community,” he said. “And just that one message coming from UF goes a long way.”
“#UF22” was trending on Twitter last Friday when decisions were sent out — despite the start of the winter Olympics at the same time, he said.
The team also tabled last Wednesday at the O’Connell Center and on Turlington Plaza to film current students reacting happily or suprised in GIF video form. Morejon said he was surprised by how many students were willing to be filmed for it.
“There’s a lot of different ways to engage,” he said. “And I think a lot of units on campus have totally embraced that.”