Teens considering Kansas University, take note: You may face tougher admission requirements than what are in place today.
A new law, approved by the Legislature during the last session, allows the Kansas Board of Regents to adopt different admission standards for regents universities.
The measure was sought by KU, where officials say the current admission requirements are neither stringent nor comprehensive enough.
“Our current standards really underestimate, or misinform, students on what it takes to be successful” at KU, said Marlesa Roney, vice provost for student success.
The admission standards, which were placed in state law in 1996, state that students may be admitted to a regents university if they have graduated from an accredited high school and have either an ACT score of 21, rank in the top third of their high school class or earn at least a 2.0 grade-point average on a prescribed curriculum.
Not good enough, say KU officials.
Those standards are allowing too many students into KU who are not ready for the school’s academic rigors, according to Roney.
Roney said some high school students meet the current admission requirements prior to their senior years, and then they coast until graduation.
“Then they get to college and there is an enormous culture shock academically,” she said.
Typically, 20 percent of the freshman class leaves KU within the first year, she said.
She said the entrance admissions need to include ways to gauge a student’s academic maturity, such as whether a student is good at seeking and using resources, achieving goals and establishing mentoring relationships. And, she said, the higher the score on the ACT, the more likely the student will succeed at KU.
“The goal is to graduate from KU, not just be admitted,” she said. “If we put that as our top priority there are variety of different ways to get that.”
Any proposed change would have to be blessed by the regents before taking effect.
Regent Gary Sherrer, who headed a task force that recommended the legislation to change the way standards are set, said the regents are more involved in the day-to-day oversight of universities and better-equipped than the Legislature to make decisions about admissions standards.
But under the new law, any new admission requirements adopted by the regents that are more rigorous than those already in place could not take effect for four years. This is designed to give students and schools time to adjust to the new requirements.
Roney said nothing definite as far as changes to the standards at KU had been decided yet, but she hoped KU would have a proposal before the regents during the current academic year.