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UND students cautiously support tougher admission standards

UND student Caitlin Wehri pulled up the calculator function on her cellphone and began plugging in numbers such as her high school GPA and ACT test score into a formula.

"Phew, that was close," she said, revealing a number slightly higher than 245.

That's the score she would need to be admitted to UND in 2013 under a new admission standard North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani wants to use.

The score goes up to 250 in 2014 and 255 in 2015 for research universities like UND and North Dakota State University; other universities would require lower scores.

Shirvani's goal is to put pressure on high schools to better prepare students for higher education and increase graduation rates in the university system.

"I know a lot of people who dropped out after their first year because they just weren't ready for college," Wehri said. "It was a lot harder than they thought it was going to be."

Currently, UND uses an automatic admission policy. If an applicant's ACT/SAT scores and high school GPA fall into a specific range, she is automatically accepted to UND.

If a student's grades and scores do not meet the admission requirements, she can still apply and her application is reviewed by a committee.

Cautious response

Student Body President Logan Fletcher said he supports the new admission standards if it allows UND to improve on an academic level. "Whether or not this is the only way to do that is something I'm unsure of," he said.

The stricter admission standards would likely cut down on the number of students being accepted to UND, something that may have benefits for students who make the cut.

"UND's enrollment keeps growing," Fletcher said. "At what point are classes too big to give students the quality of higher education they deserve?"

The formula for calculating the admissions score is composed of a student's ACT score, high school GPA, class ranking as a percentage and the number of core classes he has completed.

The weight of items in the formula did cause concern among some students.

"I'd worry about people padding their GPAs with easy classes so they can get into the college they want," said Jacob Nelson, whose score would've also allowed him admission.

The tougher admission standards are part of Shirvani's proposed overhaul of the university system. He said it will require approval from State Board of Higher Education, which he hopes to receive this fall.

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1108; or send email to