The average ACT score of incoming University of Wyoming freshmen increased between fall 2016 and 2017, even as the university increased its first-year class size by 9.3 percent.

Other universities needing to increase enrollment might lower their admission requirements or preferences, said Kyle Moore, vice president for enrollment management, but UW did not.

“We remain a selective institution, so the increase in the test scores just goes to show that there is an increasing interest and desire for what the University of Wyoming

has to offer in terms of higher education,” Moore said.

“And we did a much better job of communicating those great opportunities to students both in the state of Wyoming and outside the state.”

The average ACT score for incoming freshmen rose from 24.4 in fall 2016 to 24.7 in 2017, for a five-year high.

The average ACT score for graduating Wyoming high school seniors also rose between 2016 and 2017, from 20 to 20.2.

That score has barely fluctuated since 2011, when the state began administering the ACT to 100 percent of its students.

UW admission requirements state a first-year student must have a score of at least 21 — or an SAT score of 1060 — as well as a 3.0 grade point average. Students with an ACT score of 20 can be admitted under special circumstances. UW has a 95 percent acceptance rate, according to U.S. News.

Moore said the boost in ACT scores was no accident.

“It shows an intentionality from the university to continue to attract high academic achieving students to the institution and have the ability to market and promote the great opportunities at the university,” he said. “Through those efforts, we’re able to attract students to the institution without lowering our standards.”

One effort credited with increasing both enrollment and the average ACT score was the university’s first Admitted Student Day. The event, slated to become an annual occurrence, invites students already accepted to UW to visit campus and learn about the university more during their final semester of high school as most are making their final college decisions.

UW also enlisted the help of faculty, alumni and Board of Trustees members in reaching out to prospective students and made an effort to better communicate with those future freshmen, Moore said.

UW enrolled 12,397 undergraduate and graduate students in fall 2017. It hopes to enroll 13,500 by 2022, according to the university’s strategic plan.

The strategic plan also commits to raising the four-year graduation rate from the current 25.8 percent to 33 percent by 2022, moving students through the university more quickly.

Moore said larger graduating classes would be unlikely to cause a drop in overall enrollment as the university intends to keep increasing enrollment year-after-year.

“We’re going to grow at a higher rate than what our students would be graduating,” he said. “Our goal is not to get students here. Our goal is to educate students and allow them to achieve the completion of their degree and achieve their higher education goals.”

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