Wednesday, July 16, 2008

UC: Lowering Admissions Standards?

My very first blog post, three years ago today, was about the University of California lowering its admissions standards.

Three years later, UC is still in the news, for the same reasons. Among other proposals under consideration, the University of California is considering no longer requiring SAT subject tests or certain high school classes.

Their rationale is that the University of California has had to turn down students who had better GPA's than students who were admitted, because those high-GPA students had neglected to take the subject tests or the appropriate coursework.

UC claims that these requirements penalize students from "less privileged" backgrounds. Frankly, this seems like one more way to backdoor affirmative make room for the students who haven't met the objective admissions criteria, the number of guaranteed admissions for students who have "followed the rules" will be reduced.

This is an absurdity. Getting into and succeeding at a good university requires skills other than GPA and good scores -- like common sense and good planning. If you're not on the ball enough to go on the UC website and read their list of requirements and then follow through, perhaps you shouldn't be going to a UC school.

Update: More discussion at Joanne Jacobs: "I’d also like to see a list of high schools so dysfunctional that students with high grades and high scores aren’t told to take the A-G courses, which are required by both UC and the second-tier California State University system. Why not do something about high schools that fail to prepare their best students for college?

"The goal of the proposed changes is to make more Hispanic and black students eligible for consideration. Likely result? More UC students will have to take remedial English or math; more will fail to earn a degree."

Thursday Update: The Regents have delayed making a decision about SAT subject exams. The arguments of those who claim that by lowering admissions standards they are "raising" standards boggle the mind, as does the whining that "There are students being disenfranchised unfairly."

How unfair is it to "disenfranchise" a student who didn't play by the rules? And how much more unfair would it be to give a seat to a student who didn't complete the required work, while refusing admission to someone who made sure they met all the requirements?


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