Parent Newsletter December 2006 Special
Panther Parent is UNI's e-newsletter for parents and guardians. Panther Parent is sent three times per semester and features university events, deadlines and tips from the UNI Parents Association.
Note from the Editor:
We hope you will forgive us for sending an extra of edition of Panther Parent so close to the holiday break. However, we want UNI parents to have the most up-to-date information possible -- especially when the subject is something as important as a change in admissions standards for Iowa's three state universities. We hope this information will help answer questions you may have and arm you with the facts so you can help us make sure prospective students and their parents have the right information. Thank you for your help and for being part of UNI.
Regents Adopt New Enrollment Standard; Starts in 2009
This week, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the creation of a new standard for automatic admission to Iowa's public universities. The new Regent Admission Index (RAI) will go into effect in fall 2009. The current "50-percent" standard will remain in effect until then. The first group to be affected by the change will be students who are currently high-school sophomores.
The RAI includes ACT score, grade-point average, class rank and the number of core high-school courses taken. The index replaces the 1958 policy that provides automatic admission for Iowa high school graduates in the top half of their classes who have taken a minimum number of core courses and will encourage students to take more core classes in high school.
To be guaranteed automatic admission, students must have the subject-matter background required by UNI, and score at least 245 points on the new index. Students whose high schools don't track class rank, and students who score below 245 will still be considered for admission. The index score is not a final determination of enrollment. Students who score under 245 are encouraged to apply. Their applications will be reviewed on an individual basis.
(2 x ACT composite score)
(1 x high school rank)
(20 x high school GPA)
(5 x number of core-subject-area courses completed in high school)
ACT composite score has a top value of 36. (SAT scores will be converted to ACT composite equivalents). High school rank is expressed as a percentile, with 99 (the 99th percentile) as the top value. High school GPA is expressed on a four-point scale.
Number of core courses is expressed in terms of years or fractions of years of study.
A student earned an ACT score of 23, (23 x 2) = 46
was ranked in the 60th percentile, (60) = 60
earned a 3.0 grade-point average, (20 x 3) = 60
and completed 18 core courses. (5 x 18) = 90
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can I still be admitted to UNI if my score is less than 245?
Yes. UNI strongly encourages all interested students to apply for admission. The regent universities recognized that the traditional measures of academic performance don't always adequately describe a student's potential for success. Applicants who feel their academic record is not an accurate reflection of their potential for success are encouraged to provide supplemental information explaining their circumstances in addition to their application, academic transcripts and test scores.
2. What problem is this new index supposed to solve?
The old standard for automatic admission -- top half of your high-school class was established in 1958. For years, Iowa parents have complained that if their student chose to take more than the required core courses their grade point might drop, placing them in the lower half of their high-school class -- jeopardizing students' chances for automatic admission to the state universities.
The new index is designed to encourage students to feel comfortable stretching themselves beyond the minimum core high-school requirements -- without the fear that taking extra math, science, English or foreign language classes will hurt their chances for admission to UNI. On the contrary, those higher level courses will not only increase their index score, but they also will help prepare the student for college-level courses.
3. Will the index shut out more students?
About 85 percent of high school seniors who apply to UNI are automatically admitted under our current system. We believe that percentage will remain about the same under the new index.
Key Points from UNI's Perspective:
1. The RAI goes into effect in fall 2009 -- so it pertains to high-school students who will graduate in May 2009 (current high-school sophomores).
2. UNI wants high school students to succeed in college and succeed in life. This new index is designed to be a more fair, holistic reflection of students' academic abilities -- and also encourages them to stretch themselves by taking four years of core courses instead of just three. This will better help them prepare for college success.
3. The RAI allows us to evaluate each student individually and holistically.
4. The RAI will give us a more holistic view of a student's chances for success. It allows us to look more at the student and less at his or her particular high school's curriculum.
5. We encourage all interested students to apply, regardless of their index score.
6. We strongly encourage high-school students to take more math, science, English and foreign language courses. It will help them succeed in college and in life.
7. As soon as possible we will be posting an online RAI calculator on our Admissions Web site.
8. Students who come from high schools that don't track rank will be considered on an individual basis. Not having a class rank is not a problem.
9. What are the "core" high-school subject requirements?
The current minimum course requirements are:
English -- four years
Mathematics -- three years
Social Studies -- three years
Science -- three years
Electives -- two years
For specifics, see http://www.uni.edu/admissions/freshmen/course.shtml
UNI Parents Association
All parents/guardians of UNI students are automatically members of the parents association, which works as an advocacy group. Benefits include e-newsletters each semester and a parents' booth at orientation. Contact James O'Connor, UNIPA Liaison at (319) 273-6728, or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. The parents association also supports the Parents Fund, which supports student scholarships and activities on campus.