Missouri Western has made changes to its Griffon Gateway program, renaming it Admission With Conditions and instituting new ACT and GPA guidelines for high-risk incoming students.
The changes will go into effect for the spring semester.
The Griffon Gateway program was designed to help incoming students manage their course load and had been in effect since 2005.Now with the Admission With Conditions program admissions officials hope that the new guidelines will be more direct and effective.
Director of Admissions Howard McCauley says that the changes are designed to keep high-risk incoming students from taking on too many courses and overwhelming themselves their freshman year.
“We’re finding that if we can work with them from the beginning to get them in their proper classes, they have a chance to be successful,” McCauley said. “If not, data shows that they’re not going to be.”
High risk students will be determined by evaluating their high school GPA and ACT scores, said Tyson Schank, associate director of admissions.
Any incoming student with both a high school GPA below 3.5 and an ACT score below 21 will be subject to a sliding scale to determine the level of their admission conditions.
This will include an 11 credit hour cap on enrollment, required admission in certain freshman-level classes like Griffon Edge and possible mentoring and tutoring.
McCauley says that these should not be seen as restrictions on enrollment, but aid to help make incoming students’ college careers more successful and increase retention rates.
“Really, we’re looking out for the interest of the student,” McCauley said. “That’s what this is all about.”
After the first semester, students will be reevaluated and the conditions may be lifted.
“If a student comes in and they have satisfactorily completed all of the their course work with at least a 2.0 GPA, then those conditions are removed and they’re able to move on and enroll in any course that they have prerequisites for,” said Schank.
Admissions officials and President Robert Vartabedian want current and future students to know that these changes are not to restrict who can enroll at Western, but to make sure its students are successful.
“We’re not changing our designation as an open-enrollment university,” Vartabedian said. “We’re using data…to better shape the early experience of our incoming college students.”
Vartabedian says that the new conditions are not only in place to make students more successful in their classes, but to keep them from taking on too much financial aid debt their freshman year.
“What we’re trying to do is give them a more realistic expectation for their first two years in college,” Vartabedian said.
The Admissions Department thinks that there will be positive results with the program starting next semester, and that both the university and its students will benefit from higher retention rates and more successful students.
“We want them to persist. We want them to graduate, and that’s what our plan is,” McCauley said.