The Council on Academic Affairs voted to approve several changes in Eastern’s admissions requirements at its meeting Wednesday afternoon.
The proposal will make the requirements for general admissions a minimum of an 18 ACT score with a 2.5 GPA.
Previously, students needed an unweighted GPA of 3.00 and a minimum ACT score of 18, a 2.50 GPA and a minimum ACT score of 19 or a 2.25 GPA and 22 on the ACT to get in.
Admissions Director Kelly Miller said these changes to admissions were being proposed in response to high school guidance counselors, parents, students and community college advisers’ complaints about the old admission standards being confusing and antiquated. She said one source of confusion was the three-tiered system for freshmen and transfer students.
“Some of our criteria was really out of date, like we were still including class rank and many high schools in the state of Illinois don’t even do class rank anymore,” Miller said.
Josh Norman, associate vice president for enrollment management, said he does not think a one-point difference in the ACT is going to make a difference.
He said data shows GPA is a better indicator of academic success than the ACT, which is another reason this change is being proposed.
“I’m bringing the data to the table, I want to do what’s best for this university,” Norman said. “I wouldn’t be pushing this change if I didn’t think it was what was best for our student body.”
While other aspects of enrollment will be changing, Miller said the Gateway program’s description and information would remain the same.
“As far as, and this was feedback we received from this group last week, the changes to the Gateway language, we decided to handle that separately,” Miller said. “So, at another time that can be brought forth.”
Norman said while the extra assistance provided to students by the Gateway program may make them more successful, it also makes these students enroll in other schools.
“What we’re hearing is it’s a deterrent to be in the Gateway program because of the fact that they can’t take part in things like Greek life,” Norman said. “They are excited about the support services but not excited about some of those limitations.”
Norman said in response to this, the proposal will allow for some students not able to get into the university regularly to be allowed into standard admissions. This may help open the university up to a new population, he said.
“These students are choosing our competitors. Ninety-one percent of them are going to other four-year institutions,” Norman said. “Those are the students we could include while being more competitive and simplifying our criteria.”
He said this would help students to not only come to the university, but also receive better support services than they would at other universities.
“I’m telling you the 15 students that went to Illinois State, they are not getting the faculty to student ratio that they’re getting here. They’re not getting the personal attention,” Norman said. “The very basic service we offer here is going to gear those 15 students who are more likely to come here because the lack of stipulations, they are more likely to succeed here than at Illinois State.”
Jackie Collins, academic adviser for the Gateway Program, said while she understands the university is trying to attract more students, she is concerned about the retention rate.
Collins said many of the services students would need are not fully staffed, including the Counseling Center, Career Services, academic advising and other support services.
“If you are lowering your admissions standards, you don’t have the resources to support those students,” Collins said.
Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]
EDIT: In a previous version of this article, a quote was misattributed to Jackie Collins. The News regrets the error.