LJWorld.com weblogs Statehouse Live

KU's tougher admission standards inching towards approval


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," she said.

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 1090 SAT.

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

Students would also have to apply by Feb. 1 prior to 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 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."


MacHeath 5 years, 4 months ago

man, in my day kids didn't get coached to take the SAT. You just took the thing. Most kids didn't get scores that high. If it weren't for all the coaching available , most kids wouldn't get scores that high today. Teach them how to take a test. Not only that, lets charge money for it! That is the purpose of higher education right?

There are kids that don't do all that well in high school that can still go on to college and succeed. Hell with them, i guess.

Oh, and with the exorbitant fees these days, I guess that students have more leverage than in my day. They don't still have grad students teach classes, do they? A couple hundred bucks a credit hour, and you deserve better than a grad student you can't understand. Or a tenured professor, going through the motions. I suppose they give refunds, now days. Hardy har har!

You want to write an interesting article? Delve into the history of the SAT, and see who is lining their pockets.

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't disagree with you, but kids who do there first years in a junior college can usually transfer easily to KU. So if they don't get in right out of high school, they can still get there degree.

LogicMan 5 years, 4 months ago

What? If I'm remembering well I think this was about increasing rankings, or at least slowing the decrease.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Ding, ding, ding. If you want to win the US News & World Report beauty pageant, increase your admissions standards. Bonus points if you can increase the number of total applicants by doing something like requiring them to apply early even if KU is just their safety school.

question4u 5 years, 4 months ago

All of this ranting and stereotyping conveys one simple message: obviously college isn't for everyone.

bankboy119 5 years, 4 months ago

Growing up in Lawrence KU's reputation of snob hill was well deserved. Having the chance of running across several people from faculty, administration, endowment, and even students, my perception of KU has changed by listening to them. They know their methodology has been flawed, and they admit it still is, but each person has pointed to the new chancellor, from their unique point of view, to discuss how things are changing rapidly. I'm excited to see if this holds true and I hope they were not hollow words I listened to.

Some specifics I learned:

  1. The raised admissions standards will help weed out those unprepared and will save those students money in the long run. It also will lead to smaller, focused classes.

  2. KU is focused on improving their honors and research programs for undergraduates. If they want to attract the best and brightest, they need the programs in place to attract them.

  3. The development of undergraduate research and honors will, hopefully, lead to increased pursuit of graduate programs.

  4. In order to facilitate these changes the core curriculum has been redone university (I believe) wide. Again, KU recognizes they need to change and are taking steps in the right direction. They have a long way to go but hopefully the leadership is taking them there.

  5. People on this site love to whine. A lot.

Stan Unruh 5 years, 4 months ago

Agree bankboy119! Good info...and yes people love to whine about KU.

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 4 months ago

Wonder how they will change the out-of-state standards. I believe they are moving the in-state standards closer to what the out-of-state standards had been. It makes me wonder if I would get into KU now. This may help some students who end up not succeeding, but there's more they could do to turn freshmen into graduates:

  1. Improve gen ed classes so that students actually want to go to them.
  2. Avoid using TAs for gen eds. They can't relate to students who aren't majoring in the subject area. Also tell professors to not blather on about their research. We don't care.
  3. Include classes on how to read, take notes, and do research (or include them in the freshman/sophomore English). High schools aren't teaching these skills anymore.
  4. Get rid of McCollum and remodel Oliver. They breed drop-outs.
  5. Encourage being involved in an extracurricular activity or working, but suggest limits. Over-scheduling yourself is bad.
  6. Ban significant others until sophomore year. They're distractions. Also promote campus safety for both genders.
  7. Do more to educate responsible drinking. You can't stop them from drinking, but you can teach them to be smart about it.
  8. Tell them that there are lots of games in Allen Fieldhouse. You don't need to go to every single one.

This is what I've learned in almost four years. Definitely worth the $20,000+ a year :P

Hammertoe 5 years, 4 months ago

There goes the basketball program or will they have a different set of admission standards :)

Michael Rowland 5 years, 4 months ago

Talk about a bunch of whiney cynics who have no real idea of how higher education is supposed to work. College is not high school. Its focus is not preparing students for general life. Its focus is, and always has been on, preparing top minds to make differences in the world. The issue is so many people have seen it as a stepping stone to a better job, and for those who know how powerful their degree can be and how to wield it, it can be!

However, universities have taken to admitting so many students because, yes, they are a good source of income for the school! More money means better facilities and better faculty, which, in turn, leads to more money from grants and higher tuition for the privilege of learning from these brighter minds. Yes, I said it, privilege of learning from brighter minds. That's what that money is going towards. Students aren't buying a fancy piece of paper with their name on it. That degree should be earned, not purchased. This is an issue from the rampant mindset today. The money a student is paying the university gets the student the opportunity to test themselves in an education level that should be more challenging than anything previously encountered. And by succeeding, you get the pretty piece of paper. It's not about the students, it's not about the money, it's about the knowledge, education and research!

Anyone ever stop to ask why is there this stereotype that professors are just in it for the research and not for the teaching? It's not the money, you don't get paid the huge paycheck most people assume you get until you've proven to be very successful. And your entire job rests on your research. You don't get grants or grant renewals without proving that what you propose is accomplishable and that you are the best choice to accomplish it. You don't get tenure without bringing in grant money and publishing strong papers. That's why so many professors work 60-70+ hours a week!

Anyway, back to the question about professors wanting to do research over teaching. Part of it I've answered: their jobs rely on the research. Second part, who here has tried teaching college students before, especially at KU? So many of them don't care, they'd much rather party and socialize than go through the dumbed-down course material. I dread teaching. I'll do it when I have to, but it's such a waste of my time because I've become a glorified babysitter. I get to handhold these entitled brats through the easiest lessons because they couldn't take the time to give the material a solid read-through the day before. And I'm just a grad student, imagine how the professors must feel. Occasionally you get a good one, someone who enjoys the material and wants to be challenged, but they are rare. Most just want the pretty piece of paper and to get out of school.

Michael Rowland 5 years, 4 months ago

Hate to break it to you, but the majority of grad students and professors see it in the same light. The sense of entitlement and lack of preparation is why so many KU students shouldn't be here.

I suspect you are a current or former KU undergrad, right?

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Hate to break it to you, but students are pretty much looking for that piece of paper most places now, including the selective admissions schools. Part of what universities have lost is the notion of what a research university does and how it educates. Kids see universities as a path to a job. It's not. It's a chance to improve your mind and learn how to think. Or at least it was. Now that universities have become a requirement for getting any decent-paying job, people don't expect to learn how to think until grad school.

Employers should want to hire bright employees who have learned how to think, and the diploma should be proof that both have happened. However, these days the emphasis is on getting someone with skill set X who doesn't need any expensive on-the-job training. We box ourselves in somewhere around our sophomore year of school, and heaven help anyone who wants to change careers.

In_God_we_trust 5 years, 4 months ago

Gov. Sam Brownback could save a lot of tax payer money by cutting all funding to KU. Then KU can attract all the "top minds" they want.

Michael Rowland 5 years, 4 months ago

Of course by doing that he would piss off a lot of people, lose the support of everyone who supports KU's academics, be cutting hundreds if not thousands of jobs, be cutting admissions of hundreds if not thousands of students, be losing a lot of financial aid for students who are ready for college and just need the financial assistance, and possibly losing the ability to keep fine arts and athletic programs at KU. "Saving tax payer money" and "cut all funding": the end-all-be-all threats from weak minded fools who can't see beyond their own wallets.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.