K-State officials say admission requirements give students opportunity to succeed

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Every K-State student has, at one time or another, taken a look at the Kansas Board of Regents’ admissions criteria. In the past year, more than just students have been reviewing those requirements.

The Kansas Board of Regents sets the minimum admissions requirements for regent universities within the state. To qualify for admissions under official guidelines, students must have an ACT score of 21, a pre-college GPA of 2.0 or a graduating rank in the upper third of their high school class.

K-State officials think these requirements are a perfect fit for K-State.

“We’re consistent with the current statute of Kansas,” said Pat Bosco, vice president of student life. “We like our position of being a place where students can be successful, and we plan on remaining consistent.”

As President Kirk Schulz’s K-State 2025 plan calls for, the university has beaten its enrollment records for the last two semesters, according to Larry Moeder, director of student financial assistance and admissions. Moeder said there are several reasons that K-State appeals to so many prospective students.

“Our costs have remained relatively affordable, the student experience is second to none, and our academic programs are strong,” Moeder explained. “Students are getting jobs. That’s why I think we’ve been experiencing these enrollment numbers.”

Another reason that so many people are choosing K-State could be the university’s admission requirements, which allow many high school students to qualify. The U.S. News and World Report College Compass cites K-State’s at the 36th highest acceptance rate in the nation, at 98.9 percent. Wichita State University, which also admits students based on the state’s minimum admissions criteria, lies much farther down the list at 73rd place, with an acceptance rate of 93.9 percent.

Moeder said the state’s criteria give high school students who want to attend college a goal to strive toward.

“I think having these requirements set by the state gives students in high school the opportunity to know what they need to do to get here,” Moeder said.

Officials at the University of Kansas, which is also governed by the Kansas Board of Regents, do not feel the same. The university proposed a general increase in their admissions criteria, which was passed last June and will go into effect in the fall 2016 semester. KU’s new criteria require incoming freshmen to have at least a 3.0 GPA and a 24 on the ACT, or a 21 on the ACT and a 3.25 GPA.

“We have raised the requirements for GPA and ACT in order to gain automatic admission to the university,” said Jack Martin, director of strategic communications at KU. “Students who don’t meet those will have their applications reviewed by a university committee, and they’ll look at the strength of your high school coursework.”

The change will not affect prospective KU students for three years, but Martin said that it is a step toward preparing future students for what the university offers.

“The goal is for every student who attends to be successful at the University of Kansas,” Martin said. “What we’ve been finding is that there are some students who weren’t quite ready for studying at a research university. We wanted to be able to give students and their families a better sense of what it means to be prepared to come here.”

The University of Kansas is 84th on the list of highest acceptance rates in the country, with a 92.7 percent rate of acceptance. Although KU plans to raise their bar, K-State students say the current standard works for them.

“I think employers recognize the work that teachers here put into making sure students are equipped with the right knowledge,” said Gwen Fritz, senior in marketing. “Personally, I think the admissions requirements are fine where they’re at. Students who want to get far will be the ones that put in the effort.”

Bosco and Moeder both said that K-State does not plan to change the current requirements any time soon.

“We feel like we have a good freshman and sophomore retention rate,” Bosco said. “We have programs that are dedicated to and focus on aiding students who may be underprepared. Those programs are modest, balanced and seem to work.”

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