Archive for Monday, November 26, 2012

Legislative committee hears proposed KU admissions standards

November 26, 2012


Kansas University’s tougher admission standards are inching closer to reality.

On Monday, state and KU officials briefed the House-Senate Committee on Rules and Regulations about the proposed standards, and the Kansas Board of Regents will probably put the finishing touches on them next month.

The proposed standards are “designed to encourage student achievement and student success,” said Sara Rosen, senior vice provost for academic affairs at KU. “The current standards do not reflect what it takes to succeed at the University of Kansas.”

Currently, admission criteria are the same for all six regents universities. A Kansas high school graduate can be admitted if he or she meets one of these:

• Has an ACT score of at least 21 or SAT score of at least 980.

• Ranks in the top one-third of the high school class.

• Has a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale in the Kansas Qualified Precollege Admissions curriculum.

Under the proposed standards, to be automatically admitted to KU, graduating high school students would have to complete the pre-college curriculum along with one of these:

• A minimum 3.0 GPA and an ACT score of at least 24 or SAT of at least 1090.

• A minimum 3.25 GPA and an ACT score of 21 or SAT of 980.

Students would also have to apply by Feb. 1 before their freshman year at KU to be considered for automatic application.

Students who don’t meet the criteria will have their applications reviewed by a committee that will look at numerous considerations, including whether the applying student would be a first generation college student or is the child or grandchild of KU graduates, and whether he or she has the potential to succeed academically.

If given final approval by the regents next month, the standards would take effect for the entering freshman class in fall 2016. Rosen said the new standards would “result in more students successfully earning degrees from the University of Kansas.”

Matt Melvin, KU’s associate vice provost for recruitment and enrollment, said the goal is not to deny access but to get students enrolled who are better prepared for the rigors of KU. He said the school is not so much interested in recruiting freshmen but “recruiting graduates-to-be.”


oldexbeat 5 years, 5 months ago

how much money will be spent to filter the applicates ? Time and people ? As one that graduated from KU, but probably might not have be admitted ? (Guess I'm saying, this is a basis for expansion of employeess, offices, and another assistant to the associate dean of admissions.... etc.) What evidence is there that this will help graduation rates ?

oldexbeat 5 years, 5 months ago

and what the heck is a vice provost or a senior vice provost or -- see -- that's what I'm saying.

deec 5 years, 5 months ago

Higher education in general would also benefit by treating faculty as valued employees rather than low wage temps.

oldbaldguy 5 years, 5 months ago

All this will do is nothing. Frankly you have a a better shot at getting a good education at Pitt, Emporia or Hays. Why a kid would want to go to KU as an undergrad is beyond me. KU is a good grad school.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Each school has their strengths and weaknesses. KU has a fantastic honors program, an amazing research library, three on-campus preschools, the natural history museum, etc. Lawrence is a great city where you can get to all the necessities without a car, unlike Emporia or Hays. You can get KC internships during the summer. Having KU on your resume also still carries it a little further than those other schools do. Try applying for a job out of state and see which of those three colleges the employer recognizes first.

I'm not dissing those other schools, because they also have good programs. I'm just saying that why a student would want to go to KU shouldn't be beyond you.

Personally, I'd recommend a transfer. Get your basics out of the way at Hays, Emporia, JCCC, or some other school and then transfer over for the last two years. You still get a lot of the advantages, but you can take those early requirements in smaller classrooms without as many TAs.

firebird27 5 years, 5 months ago

In response to oldbaldguy, there is a big difference in the quality of education that one receives in regard to where you gain your education. Having taught graduate students for many years, my colleagues have found a definite rank order average for who are the best students:

Rank 1 - Students who attended a private college or university. Rank 2 - Students who attend a state's 1st tier universities, such as KU and KSU Rank 3 - Students who attend a state's 2nd tier universities, such as Pitt, Emporia, or Hays

The Rank 3 students typically have lower Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores than students in the other 2 tiers. We rarely have to be concerned about students for the first 2 ranks, but students from Rank 3 schools are typically the ones we find who are put on probation for not performing sufficiently. The GRE exam is a rather good measure. Grade point averages are the best indicators for a student's capabilities. Grades are a good measure of how hard a student may work, however.

You may pay more to attend KU or KSU, and this follows a more general philosophy in life. You get what you pay for.

Oldbaldguy, sorry to burst your bubble, but I see how good of an education students actually receive.

firebird27 5 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, I meant to say that grades are not a good indicator for academic capabilities.

Clara Westphal 5 years, 5 months ago

Kansas has many small schools that may have few students in a graduating class. To be in the top 1/3 of that class does not compare to the competition of a student who graduates with one hundred or more in the class.

Gary Denning 5 years, 5 months ago

So graduate with a 3.0 and/or get a qualifying test score.

sigephandy 5 years, 5 months ago

firebird27. That is an interesting observation considering with the exception of Pitt State, Washburn, Fort Hays, and even Baker have higher graduation and retention rates than KU. 3 out of 5 also have equal or higher average undergraduate gpa rates comparable to KU in the last 6 semesters. Also, guess who has seen an larger increase in enrollment in Fall 2011 and Fall 2012, in order: Washburn, Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State, KU, Kansas State, and Emporia State.

On a personal note, If they raise these standards I wouldn't have been eligible to go to KU. As a first gen college student I choose Emporia because it was easier to afford. A Masters and Doctorate since, I guess I was an exception to your rule coming from that 2nd tier undergraduate school.

Gary Denning 5 years, 5 months ago

Lower class sizes, small school atmosphere, etc., have a lot to do with graduation and retention rates. KU is very large and impersonal in comparison to the other schools.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

You almost imply that firebird27's assertion is a collection of anecdotes biased in part on the personal habitus of the professors and not, in fact, data. Perish the thought!

Gary Denning 5 years, 5 months ago

Let's get to the real issue here: How will these new standards affect football and basketball recruiting?

voevoda 5 years, 5 months ago

Students who enroll at KU and other public universities without the requisite academic background are wasting the public's money, as well as their own. So I'm all in favor of the higher admissions standards. They will result in education that is more cost-effective for both the state and the students, and that makes better use of faculty time and expertise.

Maybe some of the students who don't meet the more stringent criteria actually are more capable than their record indicates. In that case, they can begin at a community college, prove their academic qualifications, and transfer to KU.

Miles Nease 5 years, 5 months ago

I thought this was already a done deal last summer. Why are we now discussing this again with the politicians, many of which don't have a college education? The fact of the matter is, that these new admissions standards will help weed out those students who have no business attending an AAU university. Every KU graduate can name at least ten people they started out with as freshman who flunked out after the first or second semester.. There are many other universities in the state where those students can attend and be very successful without wasting taxpayer and family dollars.

I actually think these standards are too low. They have dumbed them down to gain the approval of the BOR. Initially, the task force determined that students were supposed to have at least, a 25 on the ACT and a GPA of 3.25. Plus, they were required to write an essay for scholarship purposes.

Another thing that is puzzling is the fact that it will take four years to implement all of the changes. I can understand the GPA and curriculum criteria. I don't understand why the ACT component can't be implemented within two years. I doubt many high school freshmen and sophomores are taking the ACT.

KS 5 years, 5 months ago

As a taxpayer funded university, any Kansas high school graduate should be able to enroll. There are late bloomers. They don't have to keep them, but they should be given an opportunity. Bad decision on behalf of KU.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

It's an argument that held more weight when the state paid more toward the cost of attendance. Since the state has decided KU's ranking is more of a priority, that means they'll need to restrict admission, raise professor pay to attract bigger names, raise tuition to pay for the increased professor pay, get more research grants and publish more, etc, etc. In the end, the state will have bragging rights about a university that very few state citizens are able to attend.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

KU has been losing state funding for about ten years now, right? It's a trend likely to continue. So KU has raised tuition rates to compensate. That's easy enough to find. As far as the concern over the rankings? I know a local paper that might have an easy to find article or two: And Brownback's genius budget advisor even suggested early on that higher education should be funded mostly by tuition because not everyone needed to go to college. Nice if you've got the cash, I guess.

I should clarify that the decision to raise standards has been something KU has wanted for a while now. They do have a good point. Kids who meet their standards are more likely to do well than those who don't. In the end, I don't have a problem with it, as long as they also allow in-state transfers.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I wish they'd do that and admit that not every student starts college as a fresh-faced high school graduate with no job or family to support.

Anne Hamilton 5 years, 5 months ago

This makes perfect sense to me. KU's graduation and retention rates are so low because they are accepting mass amounts of people who are not ready to perform at a college level. It doesn't help those people to admit them and then set back their progress by suspending them due to academic probation, when they probably should have gone to a community college or smaller school to gain the skills that would allow them to thrive at a large university like KU.

Honestly, I think we should be looking more at the high schools in the state to make sure they are properly preparing students for higher education.

dinglesmith 5 years, 5 months ago

And we have a winner. Bringing kids to KU who are not prepared is bad for KU, the kids and the state. If you do your homework, you'll learn that increased admission standards actually increase enrollment, not decrease it.

Kansas has multiple higher education institutions for a reason. Different students need different experiences and options. Why should KU seek to be a perfect institution for every student? I hope everyone has the sense to pick whats best for them. Regardless, I will always say that what you do where you are is way more important than where you are.

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

If they could sober up the freshman class they might have a higher retention rate.

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 5 months ago

Why don't they just have a tiered tuition scale? The lower your ACT score, the higher the tuition.

SnakeFist 5 years, 4 months ago

I'd like to see some numbers that indicate the impact of the proposed new standards. For example, how many of this year's freshman class would not have been admitted, how much lower will the new standards drive enrollment, and what will be the expected effect on the Lawrence economy? For example, a thousand fewer students would mean a lot of empty rental housing.

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