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Assured-admission standards to increase for freshman

By Susann Robbins
News Editor

In the fall semester 2013, freshman admission to the University of Wyoming will change. This modification is designed to improve students' preparedness for college-level learning and create a better support system for students, who may need help throughout their university experience.

The new standard is split in two categories: assured admission and admission with support. Assured admission is given to students who have completed the Hathaway Success Curriculum plus two years of additional coursework, which can be chosen from fine and performing arts, social and behavioral studies, humanities, additional foreign language or career-technical courses; a high school GPA of 3.0; and ACT score of 21, according to the UW admissions website.

Admission with support requires a minimum high school GPA of 2.25 and ACT score of 20; the high school curriculum may vary, according to UW admission website.

Setting the assured admission standard is designed to help students prepare for college-level learning, and providing admission with support will give students additional academic support as needed.

So all the incoming UW students should perform more successfully, Sara Axelson, vice president of student affairs at the University of Wyoming, said.

Transfer students will only be affected by this if they have not completed an associate's degree. Many students who complete their degrees with Laramie County Community College won't be affected at all, which means the "block transfer" agreement between LCCC and UW is still in effect, Grant Wilson, interim vice president of student services at LCCC, said.

Axelson said: "The Board of Trustees of the University of Wyoming along with the administration, faculty and staff have wanted to increase student success, e.g., fall to fall freshman retention and graduation rates for some time. This fall semester, our first class of Wyoming high school graduates arrived at UW having completed the full success curriculum (Hathaway Success Curriculum). This gives us the perfect opportunity to analyze the baseline information related to preparedness of our new freshmen." A full analysis of the success of these students will be available in the next couple weeks.

In 1970, Gov. Stanley K. Hathaway said at his inauguration, "We must all work together to build a better Wyoming". So in his honor, the Wyoming Legislature recently created the Hathaway scholarship fund with a $400 million permanent endowment for Wyoming high school graduates to attend the University of Wyoming or any of the state's community colleges. The scholarship requires a Success Curriculum, and this is the first year 90 percent of Wyoming's high school students have completed it.

There are different course requirements, which, in turn, offer different scholarship levels. They are the honors level ($1,600 scholarship a semester), performance level ($1,200 a semester), opportunity level ($800 a semester) and provisional opportunity level ($800 a semester).

UW offers a wide array of support programs, federally and state funded, Axelson said. One of them is the award-winning Synergy program. It is a learning community of general education courses offered to students who don't meet the assured admission standard to help them be prepared for college, LCCC's Wilson said. It provides smaller classrooms and a student-focused learning environment.

Another program is LeaRN, which offers different programs to students and faculty with the focus of helping new students transition better to the university. It oversees different projects for first-time and transfer students. It includes teaching resources, course and academic support programs, learning communities and transition courses, faculty awards, tutor training and conferences.

The new standards are comparable to public research universities and regional comparators, Axelson said. This change will improve student retention and completion rates and make UW graduates more competitive with other university graduates.

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