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UO to eliminate automatic admissions policy

UO Vice Provost of Enrollment Development Roger Thompson says the policy will help push high school students to succeed.

High school students with grade point averages of 3.4 or higher will no longer be admitted automatically to the University of Oregon starting next year under the OUS’ new admissions policy.

The UO has been gradually tightening its admissions standards in recent years — students were automatically admitted with 3.25 averages until the 2009–10 school year.

University President Richard Lariviere and Vice Provost of Enrollment Management Roger Thompson cited various reasons for the change agreed that the automatic admissions policy creates problems of perception among high school students. “If you’re a 3.3 student or a 3.2 student and you’re in one of those subsets that we really want to apply to the place — if the message is that if you don’t have a 3.4, you’re not going to get in, you diminish the likelihood that that student will apply,” Lariviere told a group of journalism students on Feb. 16. “On the other hand, if you’re a 3.9 student, why the hell would you apply some place that only requires a 3.4? I’m smarter than that. So we’re just sending the wrong message to everybody.”

Thompson said the current policy may dissuade Oregon students from applying themselves academically in high school. The vice provost’s job includes visits to Oregon high schools to talk to students about their college choices.

“One of the most common things I hear is a lot of those students don’t push themselves academically because they know, if they get a 3.4, they’ll get into the University of Oregon,” he said.

OUS spokesperson Di Saunders said the UO’s new admission standard was approved along with a new, system-wide change to the OUS’ policy on automatic admissions. Previously, the UO was the only school in the system that admitted students with high GPAs automatically. Now every school in the system will have the 3.4 standard except the UO.

The change to the UO’s policy appears to have escaped notice in the announcement of the OUS’ new standards. Thompson was not aware when he spoke to the Commentator Wednesday that the policy had already been changed.

The plan will first take effect for students applying to attend the UO in the 2012–13 school year.

When the UO decided to tighten its rules to admit students automatically only with 3.4 averages in February of 2009, it estimated that 70 percent of its students had been admitted automatically because of their GPAs. The mean grade-point average of high school students admitted to the UO for the fall 2010 term was 3.52, indicating that most UO students still gain admission automatically.

elissa Haskin contributed reporting to this article. It will be updated as I learn more.

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