Enrollment increases for 3rd year in a row

New admissions standards improve quality of students

This year, Ball State officials achieved a goal that has been five years in the making.

For the first time since 1997, fall enrollment topped 18,000, and the quality of the freshman class is one of the highest in the university's history, according to a release by university officials.

In 1997, admissions officials and other administrators met to outline new admissions standards that they hoped would improve the quality of students and the university's academic reputation.

"We saw a decrease in enrollment and felt that increasing our standards would enroll kids with high academic standards," said Douglas McConkey, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Changes included looking more closely at students' high school academic records, such as the variety and difficulty of courses taken, grade point averages and SAT and ACT scores as well as Core 40 courses.

In 1997, the average SAT score was 986. As of 2002, that number increased to 1,040. But higher admissions standards means more students will be rejected. This year 11,000 students applied. Only 8,000 were admitted, 3,751 of those being freshmen.

Also, since 1997, applications are looked at individually instead of being processed based merely upon GPAs and test scores.

More than just the quantity of students has increased.

Since the new admission standards were implemented, 77 percent of students have returned for their second year, as compared with 67 percent before 1997.

For those rejected, Ball State and Ivy Tech launched a new program called Connect. A student must complete 24 credit hours and maintain a C-average while attending an Ivy Tech campus. After this, a student may re-apply to Ball State for his or her second year.

Overall, officials said they are content with the outcomes of the admissions plan.

"I am very pleased," McConkey said. "Our goal was to reposition the university in the eyes of the public."


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