Seeking to Raise Graduation Rates, U. of Utah Dumps Admissions Index

Thursday, January 12, 2012

High school seniors hoping to attend the University of Utah this fall will face fresh admissions criteria under an overhaul designed to ensure freshmen are better prepared for college success.

The U.’s so-called admissions index, a measure that considers only high school GPA and composite ACT scores, is being dumped in favor of a “holistic” look at student accomplishments, according to Mary Parker, the U.’s new associate vice president for enrollment management.

The goal is to admit not only students who have a good chance of graduating, but also those whose abilities aren’t reflected in their grades, said Parker, who recently arrived in Utah from Louisiana State University to fill the newly created administrative post.

For applicants who lack stellar numbers, officials will consider the difficulty of high school classes they completed, artistic talents, community service and whether they would be first-generation college students.

The move won praise from a counselor with Rowland Hall, the private Salt Lake City school geared toward college readiness. It brings the U. in line with admission practices at most, if not all, other state flagships and will send a positive message to Utah high schoolers, according to Bruce Hunter.

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