Prospective students on the bubble will need to study more on their standardized tests after the University gets the go-ahead to toughen admissions standards.
According to the meeting agenda, the Kansas Board of Regents is expected to pass an amendment during its regular meeting on Dec. 19 to allow the University to raise the required numbers for the ACT, SAT and cumulative GPA for automatic admission.
“A student that hasn’t got his act together, and is willing to work hard junior and senior year, there’s little that students can do to raise their GPA,” said Neal Kingston, the director of the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation. “The tests gives them a chance to show what they can do.”
Currently, in-state students can receive automatic admission if they rank in the top third of their high school class and get an ACT score of 21 or SAT score of 980, or have a 2.0 grade point average. With the change, automatic admissions will require either a 3.0 GPA with an ACT of 24 or SAT of 1090, or a 3.25 GPA with the old ACT and SAT score requirements.
“It’s a good thing because of the University’s low dropout rate,” said Holly Goodman, a senior in business administration from Paola. “It makes KU sound more credible.”
Coming out of high school, Goodman had a safe GPA and took the ACT twice: first getting a 21 and second getting a 24. But a change like this would have impacted her approach to the standardized tests.
“I just took the ACT first to see how I’d do,” Goodman said. “Then I studied for a second time. I probably would have pushed it a little bit for the tougher standards.”
Political science senior Aric Kuntz said the tougher standards are big steps, but he said the numbers seem attainable.
“I was kind of surprised for the low standards when I applied,” Kuntz said. “They just need to work at least moderately hard to reach that.”
Value of standardized tests
The ACT and SAT are the major college tests recognized by colleges and universities nationwide. But Kingston said that for most colleges and universities, GPA and other admissions materials are considered before test scores.
“Many students think it’s the most important thing,” Kingston said, referencing the ACT and SAT exams. “It’s not. It’s very different. There’s very little you can do over the last two years for GPA. People start to focus on what students can do. We think that number comes from the tests. The numbers do have weight, but studies admissions officers show that they aren’t that high.”
Kuntz doesn’t buy that explanation.
“It’s probably first GPA, then test score, then other stuff,” Kuntz said. “They’re also used for trying to get a scholarship.”
Kingston said there are differing views, but that standardized test scores are looked at more closely as the fifth condition.
“It’s more like you’re getting an extra chance,” Kingston said.