The University of Wyoming’s board of trustees voted this month, at the request of university administrators, to set a minimum ACT score of 17 for students to be admitted to the school.
Previously, high school graduates could be assured admission to UW, albeit with some remedial classes, if they had a cumulative grade-point average of 2.5-2.99. No standardized test score was required.
However, that new policy will still require those students with a sub-3.0 GPA to have a GPA of at least 17 or an SAT score of 900.
The policy revision makes no changes to admissions requirements for students with a GPA of 2.25-2.49. Under UW’s old policy, which has not changed, those students would only be admitted if they had an ACT score of at least 20 or an SAT score of at least 1020.
The policy change also makes no change to the requirements for students to be admitted to the university without any need for remedial coursework.
High school graduates who have both a GPA of at least 3.0 and either a ACT score of 21 or SAT score of 1060 are assured admission with no extra support requirements.
Kyle Moore, UW’s associate vice provost for enrollment management, said that, in recent years, about 20 freshmen admitted under the old requirement would now be disqualified from admittance based on low ACT scores.
Only about half of those students continue at the university after their freshman year, he said.
Forty-five students who were admitted during 2018’s record-breaking freshman class would be disqualified.
About half the students have not returned to school, and 16 were suspended for substandard grades, Moore said.
UW’s top attorney, Tara Evans, who guides much of the university’s revisions to its regulations, told trustees this month that “the administration believes this is a very positive thing” to ensure students succeed as freshmen.
“We wanted to make sure we weren’t putting students in a position where they were going to struggle and not succeed,” she said.
Moore said that, in some select circumstances, students who fall below the GPA minimum score could still be admitted, for example, by writing an essay that explains their “extenuating circumstances.”
UW’s regulation doesn’t detail the reasons such students might be admitted, only stating that “the university has the discretion to admit students who do not qualify under the above-described criteria.”
While none of the trustees voted against the regulatory change, chairman Dave True express some concern and said he was glad that students who don’t mean the GPA minimum have some recourse to argue their case for admittance.
“Just personally, I’m very sensitive to that, because I know that in some instances, grades and test scores are not indicative of success later in life,” he said. “I want to make darn sure that those students have the avenue to demonstrate their potential.”
The regulation change also puts more of an emphasis on the college performance of transfer students, rather than emphasizing their success in high school.
Previously, transfers students with less than 30 college credits needed to meet the GPA and test score minimums of freshmen students to be admitted.
Now, only students with less than 12 college credit hours need to meet those minimums. Transfer students with at least 12 credit hours now only need at least of 2.0 cumulative GPA for their college work.