Our view: Enrollment changes

Written by: Matthew Balsinger

In this past Sunday’s issue of The Plain Dealer, there was an article on a new policy that The University of Akron will be implementing that will place incoming freshman into categories based upon ACT scores.

Those with low scores will be referred to a community college before they are admitted to UA.  After these students have completed an associate’s degree, they will be granted provisional status so that they may pursue a bachelor’s degree.  University officials believe that this move will increase both the retention and graduation rates, according to the Plain Dealer.

This is the move that the University should have made years ago. According to the Plain Dealer, the average freshman graduation rate statewide is 58 percent, while The University of Akron is around 38 percent.  In an ideal world, this change would still give students who may not have done well in high school or on standardized tests the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree, as well as give Akron the chance to improve its reputation.

It is no secret that many outside The University of Akron look at us as a bunch of pushovers.  They don’t take us seriously or consider the degree we receive from Akron as valuable as a degree received at other universities in the state.  This is an unfair position for employers and other universities to hold and it is good to know that our officials are trying to improve for our sakes.

First, referring students to a community college before allowing them to attend here works because it weeds out students who may not make it regardless of if they are admitted to a four-year school.  Ultimately the decision lies in the hands of the student, and it makes no sense for a prestigious institution to continue to demean its reputation by continuing to admit students that will not make it.

This move could possibly open up more resources for students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree.  Many of the provisional students that are admitted to the university must take skills classes that do not count for college credit before they can begin working on the classes they need for their actual degree.  We divert many resources to the development of these classes, resources that we could be using to improve our bachelor’s programs.

Everyone should be given a second chance.  But giving someone a second chance should not affect students who are achieving well in their own right.  We can only hope that the university will continue to pursue policies that increase the prestige of this institution and its students.