By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF
The University of Mary Washington’s Board of Visitors heard a proposal from Kimberly Buster-Williams, associate provost for enrollment management, at their most recent meeting, in which she put forth a plan for the removal of SAT score submissions for students with high grade point averages. Although Williams pushed this idea to the BOV over a year ago, it is now being considered for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Nearly 800 universities in the United States alone no longer consider SAT scores in their evaluation of applicants, indicating a new trend in the college admission process.
While this plan could alleviate some of the pressure and unfair hurdles of applying to college for high school seniors across the country, we are concerned about the reasoning behind this potential move.
Due to low enrollment numbers for the incoming freshmen class, this idea was proposed to the BOV as a way to entice more students to apply to UMW.
As students of the university, we understand the issues for enrollment management. We have seen many students transfer during the course of their college education. Efforts to draw more applicants is not new to our university. Since the 2007-2008 academic year, the University has lost a total of 436 students, which translates to the loss of $5.4 million in tuition.
At open floor meetings with Provost Jonathan Levin and Vice President of Student Affairs Doug Searcy last semester, students discussed the rapid decline of UMW’s goals and message.
We wonder if this proposal is the proper way to sell our university to prospective students. Rather than attempting to recruit students by lowering academic standards, we should instead be promoting the qualities and achievements that make this school unique.
For instance, the University should promote its impressive faculty of professors who are interested in engaging with students both inside and outside the classroom. The University should emphasize the outstanding internships and independent studies that our undergrads have completed. The University should show prospective students the power and ambition of our many student leaders and the diversity of our student groups. The University must present our school as the community of acceptance and inclusion that it so uniquely is and that students are so dedicated to upholding.
Although we are sympathetic to the growing issues of enrollment, we must highlight the success of students and UMW organizations that truly represent our standard of education. That is what should convince applicants to attend our university.