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Archive for Friday, September 26, 1997

KU EYES QUALIFIED ADMISSIONS TO THE NORTH

September 26, 1997

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The Universityof Nebraska's requirements system has depleted the school's ranks somewhat, although administrators expect it to rebound.

Wonder what qualified admissions will look like here at Kansas University in the year 2001? Take a look north, toward Lincoln.

The University of Nebraska put a system of qualifications into place this fall, after a four-year wait. The result: a drop in enrollment by about 1,000 students, but a jump in prestige, say NU administrators.

"We expected (the enrollment drop)," said Peg Blake, NU director of admissions. "We also expect that we will go back to our previous level in the next two years."

Recruiters talking to high school seniors have found that rejuvenation may not take long.

"The increase in the image of the institution, in just this one year, is fairly substantial," Blake said.

Students hoping to enter NU need to fill requirements in two areas: appropriate precollege course work and appropriate grades or test scores, at least 20 on the ACT, 950 on the SAT, or graduating in the top half of the high school class.

"It's not all that restrictive," Blake said.

This year at NU, average ACT scores have risen, and there was an almost 10 percent jump in the number of NU students who had graduated from the top half of their high school classes.

"It's a much more stimulating academic environment," Blake said.

Don't think there hasn't been opposition, however.

For example, a letter to the editor in the local newspaper this week said that a taxpayer-supported, land-grant institution should be open to everyone.

At KU and the other regents institutions, qualified admissions will take effect in the fall of 2001. Students will then be eligible for admission in one of three ways: by graduating in the top third of their high school class; by having an ACT score of 21 or higher, or by completing a precollege curriculum with a 2.0 average on a 4.0 scale.

Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, KU associate provost for academic services, said KU officials didn't expect the standards to hurt the numbers.

"Qualified admissions standards should admit all the students we admit already," McCluskey-Fawcett said. "I could be naive about this, but we don't expect the qualified admissions to cause an enrollment drop."

High school graduation rates, which will continue to rise until 2005 in Kansas, may not hurt either. In addition, high school freshmen are being prepared for the qualifications by KU recruiters.

"I think we expect, in this state, the same thing in Nebraska -- that the schools will be seen as more prestigious because they're more selective," McCluskey-Fawcett said. "It should make for better students."

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