UCA removed standardized testing requirements for fall 2020-2021 applications, scholarships and Honors College admissions due to COVID-19’s impact on student’s ability to take the AP and SAT tests.
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Kevin Thomas said that the university will now use the weighted GPA from an applicant’s sixth or seventh semester of high school.
The awarding of the Achievement, University and Future Leaders academic scholarships will use the applicant’s GPA. However, students qualifying for the Distinguished Scholarship will go through a competitive-review process.
“A committee will review student-submitted materials in order to determine a limited number of scholarships,” Thomas said.
The new admission standards also changed the minimum GPA for a student to apply from 2.5 to 3.0. Thomas said the university looks at the success of previous incoming students to UCA based on their high school grade point average.
“We feel confident that students that succeed at this level over four years of high school will be able to succeed academically at UCA,” Thomas said.
In addition to the changes in admission and academic scholarships, the Schedler Honors College will cease using standardized testing scores.
Assistant Dean for the Schedler Honors College Patricia Smith said that “for the last 10 years, honors has placed very little value in the overall admissions rubric on the ACT. Only about six percent.”
Smith said that like admissions, Honors College decisions will be made without standardized testing. According to Smith, Honors College will use weighted GPA as a fraction of its admissions process.
“Test scores will not be required. While some students may choose to submit them, they will not be a factor in the rubric used to score students,” Smith said.
The Honors College uses a holistic admission process with variables such as “GPA, class rank, quantitative and qualitative information from two references, and scores on two different essays,” Smith said.
These variables are used to narrow the pool of approximately 450 applicants to a group of 150 that is then invited to campus for the Honors College’s inform and interview day. Students complete an on-site essay and participate in small-group discussions. These final two items are also used to evaluate students.
Honors and admissions will cease requiring standardized testing scores for fall 2020, spring 2021 and fall 2021.
Admissions recently held a promotion of waiving application fees during Homecoming week. Thomas said that they are unsure if the promotion raised admissions just yet, but will know in the future.
“We don’t know that but what we can say is that we had a record-setting week of
applications submitted,” Thomas said.
For the week of Oct. 26-31, the university had 1,652 applications submitted. Taylor explained that due to COVID-19 limiting high school visits, college fairs and on-campus tours the university was “running a bit behind previous years in terms of applications, but after Homecoming week, we are glad to be slightly up compared to previous years.”