Raising the bar on transfer students

For the past four years, the academic standards at Sam Houston State have been steadily rising, and this summer the Texas State University System Board of Regents turned their attention to raising the bar on transfer students.

Beginning next semester, students with 12-17 hours who apply for admission to Sam Houston State will be required to bring in at least a 2.5 grade point average while those with less than 12 hours must meet beginning freshmen standards.

Previously, transfer students needed only a 2.0 GPA to meet minimum admission requirements.

“We’re always concerned with trying to select students who are going to be successful,” Dr. Richard Eglsaer, Assoc. Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said. “We found that those students with less than a 2.0 were not making it.”

In 2004, the university raised entrance requirements for beginning freshman by requiring a minimum score of 17 on the ACT or an 850 on the SAT for students who graduated in the top quarter of their class. Prior to the change, these students were granted automatic admission.

Now it’s the transfer students’ turn.

Eglsaer said he and other administrators hope the stricker requirements will result in more qualified transfer students enrolling while preventing admission of those students who may not be ready for the rigorous coursework of a four-year institution.

“We don’t want to take the students’ money if they’re not going to be successful,” Eglsaer said. “If they are coming in with less than a 2.0, we feel they need to demonstrate that they can be successful first.”

Following the raising of requirements for beginning freshman, retention rates rose noticeably from 63 percent in 2003-2004 to 70 percent in 2006-2007.

“We really saw the most dramatic change when we eliminated the top quarter automatic acceptance,” Eglsear said. “I believe our university’s image comes more from our grad students and the entrance requirements for freshmen scores.”

Eglsaer also mentioned the negative impact unprepared transfers can have on students already within the Bearkat community.

“It definitely makes a difference to students already here,” Eglsaer said. “If you have a student in class who is not ready for a senior college, it really drags you down.”

According to SHSU Institutional Research, the number of transfer students enrolled at Sam Houston State increased from 1,578 in Fall 2003 to 1,754 in 2007.

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