Admission control: Colleges tighten requirements

The news doesn't surprise them, but local parents and students are perturbed by the fact that Ohio colleges are accepting less than
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

The news doesn't surprise them, but local parents and students are perturbed by the fact that Ohio colleges are accepting less than 75 percent of applicants.

"I've seen a few of my friends get rejected," Sandusky High School senior Josh Zoellner said. "It's getting harder because the education standards aren't too great in this country."

Of 1,801 undergraduate applicants from the class of 2007, only 1305, or 72 percent, were admitted to the Tiffin University main campus. At neighboring Heidelberg College, only 71 to 74 percent were accepted. And the percentage of applicants who were accepted at University of Dayton fell to 74 percent this year, down from 82 percent the previous year. One exception: Wright State University near Dayton, where Cathy Davis, director of undergraduate admissions, reported 90 percent of applications were accepted last year.

"Schools are getting more competitive," Clyde parent Marcia Ross said. "Little Tommy may have played a ton of sports in high school, got straight A's, but if those A's aren't A-pluses, he probably won't be going to an Ivy League school. We as parents can push our kids to succeed, but in the end, there's always going to be someone one step ahead."

According to the New York Times, college rejection rates around the country are at an all-time high. Several Ohio colleges and local high schools say that isn't necessarily the case.

Perkins and Edison high school guidance counselors said they encourage students to apply to at least three to five schools so if they don't get into their first choice, they have a safety net.

"At Perkins we are not seeing that (high rejection rate) at all," guidance counselor Margaret Warnicke said. "We're seeing our students get into one of their top three choices. The students are doing that themselves (keeping competitive) by taking on very rigorous curriculums."

Edison guidance counselor Dale Morgan concurred.

"I haven't really noticed that" college admissions are getting tougher, he said. "With Firelands being so close, we're finding several students opting to go there."

Colleges often will advise students on what they need to be admitted.

"If an applicants grades in core classes don't permit them to be admitted, we typically suggest they take a semester or two at a community college," Heidelberg admissions director Lindsay Sooy said.

"We work with students to suggest classes they should take in order to be admitted in the future."

Cam Cruickshank, Tiffin University's vice-president of enrollment management, said only small number of universities are "highly" selective.

"We do deny students who may not be ready for the baccalaureate program right out of high school, but we provide them alternative educational opportunities to have a chance at getting their grades up by taking on an associate degree. And once they improve, they'll be admitted to main campus to purse their bachelors," he said.

Artie Majors, a former college professor from Cincinnati, said "safety net" schools are a great idea, but in reality can harm other, more deserving students.

"Colleges want the most exceptional students they can find," he said. "That's what makes these bigger universities so appealing. If you have 1,000 straight-A students and 1,000 A-minus students, they're going to choose the (straight) A students because having high achievers keeps the college competitive with other colleges. It's just like an employment situation. The best candidates are accepted first. The problem is, everyone's applying to these safety net schools, causing an increase in applications and making it more difficult for the average Joe to get in."

How do you stay competitive?

According to collegeboard.com, colleges aren't just looking at the students who take the most courses and excel. Colleges prefer students who take the most challenging courses and excel.

"You can take three algebra courses and get A's, but if you take a trigonometry or statistics class and get and A, that's much, much more important," Majors said.

Cruickshank said he looks for three things when considering applications: Overall grade point average, standardized test scores and the number of college-prep courses taken.

"We look at the three criteria, lump it all together and determine the student's academic index," he said. "The academic index quantifies how strong a student is, or how well-prepared academically they are."

Tough to get in?

By going to collegeboard.com or act.org, students and parents can determine whether a college is highly selective, moderately selective, a traditional or liberal admission college, or if the college has open admission.