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Admissions may raise standards with minimum SAT requirement

Kristen Campbell
Editor in Chief

Pending the approval of the Provost and Enrollment Management, the minimum SAT score requirement for admission to the University of La Verne could be 850, effective Jan. 1, 2011.

Currently the University of La Verne has no minimum SAT requirement for student admittance.

However, on Oct. 5 the College of Arts and Sciences overwhelmingly approved a motion “to encourage and persuade Enroll­ment Manage­ment and the Provost to change this immediately.”

The proposal recommends the minimum SAT score requirement for undergraduate acceptance to be set at 850 with no single score lower than 400.

“With the (dramatic) increase in the number of students we have on campus this year, we were shown the demographic breakdown of our students, and we were quite alarmed that there were some students that fell below what we felt to be a reasonable standard,” said Ian Lising, chairman of the speech communication department.

Those who have been accepted to ULV to this point were enrolled in a “holistic” style where a number of criteria, such as recommendations, high school grade point averages and essays are considered.

“We are not suggesting to Enrollment Management and Admissions that they adopt the SAT as the defining factor for admission to the University,” said Jonathan Reed, interim dean of arts and sciences. “However there should be a minimum score that we require.”

Reed said usually if students are admitted to ULV with an SAT score less than 850, they are required to take remedial math and English courses before they can move forward with their education. These students often become frustrated with the long process of getting up to par so after one or two years of accruing college tuition debt, they drop out.

“It becomes an ethical issue because it is unfair to those students to force them into debt” with little hope for completing their college degrees, Reed said. “ULV is a place where a student with one weakness can attend, find themselves and succeed.”

Reed added that it becomes a pedagogical issue if these students are admitted to ULV because if there are more low-scoring students in the classroom, the students who fall in the middle are more likely to be dragged down rather than pushed to the top.

Although the recommendation to raise minimum scores was heartily supported College of Arts and Sciences, the final decision rests with the provost and Enrollment Management.

“Much discussion and research need to happen before any decision is made,” said Homa Shabahang, vice provost.

The Provost’s Council will look at application pools and see how the new admission standard will impact recruitment, Shabahang said. Once the study has been completed, the council will make a proposal regarding adoption of the standard.

“The proposal should be completed by Thanksgiving,and the final decision is set to be made before the first of the year, right before we begin admitting new students,” Shabahang said. “I do not believe many students will be impacted by the new standard, if it is adopted.”

The creation of a minimum SAT requirement has been a goal of the University and En­rollment Management for more than a year, Shabahang said.

“I acknowledge this year’s freshmen class has been admitted with the lowest SAT scores I have ever seen,” said Richard Simpson, associate professor of business administration and president of the Faculty Senate. “I believe 850 is an OK start for a set minimum requirement, but we should move higher and should be more selective.”

“If we were to set the bar too high right away, it would be fiscally irresponsible of us to jeopardize the operation of our university in the short-run,” Lising said.

Kristen Campbell can be reached at kristen.campbell@laverne.edu.

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