It’s difficult to succeed if no one will give you the chance. This basically sums up my feelings about UVU’s open admissions.
UVU is in a unique situation. We are sandwiched between three major universities: BYU, the University of Utah, and Utah State. All of them have their strengths and particular cultures but nothing like UVU’s.
Our open admissions policy is part of this uniqueness. We have a diverse group of students who are pursuing higher education on their own dime because they can’t afford a different school. Or they may be here because their SATs or high school grades aren’t “good” enough for a higher caliber university.
And when I say “higher caliber” I don’t mean less quality of education; I mean prestige. An employer would be more likely to recognize and be impressed by those who graduated from Harvard as opposed to a smaller university.
To be fair, some employers don’t care which university you attended just as long as you have a Bachelor’s.
An open admission policy is great for any background.
Let’s take my road to college for an example. I didn’t have outstanding grades in high school. Actually far from it. I passed my classes, only failing a math and a science class. I didn’t have credentials like Student Body president or any other outstanding reward that would set me apart. To me, a larger university was out of the question.
I specifically chose to go to UVU because of their open admissions. Walking through the doors for the first time, I knew I didn’t need to compare myself to others. I was going for myself. This is a mindset most UVU students hold, I’m sure.
Our university is made out of many walks of life. Some are coming back for a degree later in life. Some students come from overseas.
The beauty that comes from our culture comes from its diversity. By limiting it to the “privileged” would be stunting our character and voice.
There are definite setbacks that need to be controlled by administration. One of which is that the open admissions means an over-inflated student count, which causes having to hire more staff. By the classes I’ve attended, this doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue.
UVU has handled the incline of enrollment over the years, and now that it is evening out, the administration is even more capable of handling future freshman classes.
The increasing rate of tuition isn’t a new story for UVU or any other college. Yet, in comparison to other Utah universities, we have one of the lowest costs of attendance.
Other universities have high standards in order to be admitted. My wife, who attended the University of Washington, had to have at least a 3.2 high school GPA, a qualifying SAT score, letters of recommendation, and a lengthy essay describing why she deserved to attend their school.
UVU requires a high school diploma, no GPA requirement and ACT/SAT scores with no qualifying score for those who are under 21.
Although there are some standards, they are not as elite as other universities around the country.
Currently, UVU uses the Accuplacer exam to place new students in their respective starter classes. Should UVU double this exam, or make another that is similar, for students to pass in order to attend? This would set the standard of, “We expect our students be competent in these areas to attend UVU.”
Keeping admissions open would also keep the admissions process speedy. For example, students will be able make decisions quickly after graduating from high school or after serving an LDS mission.
UVU is like a glorified community college, and that is definitely not a bad thing. Our culture is what keeps us unique in academia. By taking away the “come one, come all” mentality we would be trading a welcoming attitude for needless prominence.