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Beyond the News

Some South Carolina applicants rejected...and accepted, too

Students may receive automatic acceptance letters to system's two-year campuses
University Business, December 2013

Students who aren’t accepted to the University of South Carolina main campus this spring may still receive some good news with their rejection letters.

In a new admissions initiative, students the university cannot accommodate due to space or who aren’t quite meeting academic qualifications may receive automatic acceptance letters to one of the four two-year campuses in the system. South Carolina plans to expand the program to include acceptance to the system’s four-year campuses in 2015, says university spokesperson Wes Hickman.

Students will be accepted based on each branch campus’ criteria. Where students live and which branch campus has an academic program suited to them also will be factors in the decisions.

Accepted students will also be encouraged to transfer to four-year campuses later on.

“The purpose of this program is to benefit the students of South Carolina by giving them increased access to baccalaureate degrees,” Hickman says. “It’s our way of saying that it doesn’t matter where you come into our system. It matters more that you finish.”

Previously, South Carolina would include brochures about its other campuses in their rejection letters. Hickman says the school is still working on the precise wording of the new letters.

Several other states—including Pennsylvania, California, and Wisconsin—already have unified admissions initiatives similar to what South Carolina is developing, says Jim Rawlins, former president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The University of California system, for example, allows students to apply to all of its nine campuses with a single application.

“Often, I’ve seen similar programs be a temporary fix that meet the needs of a school system at a certain time,” says Rawlins, who is currently director of admissions at the University of Oregon. “If enrollment or demand is high, it’s a way to have students start somewhere else and not be turned away.”