May 112003
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

Study habits from high school may follow students into college, but there is no saying those patterns cannot change.

“No matter what you’ve done in high school, you can come here and be a new person,” said Paul Thayer, director of undergraduate student retention. “You can be a scholar here.”

The Office of Budgets and Institutional Analysis recently released a study showing the relationship between students’ Colorado Commission on Higher Education index numbers in relation to their current grade point average at CSU and the likelihood they will graduate in four to five years.

“Generally, the better your high school preparation, the better your GPA is at CSU,” said Keith Ickes, associate vice president for administration. “All of that relates to the fact that there are a lot of adjustments in coming to college.”

CCHE index scores are tabulated based on students’ high school GPA as well as their performance on standardized tests. A 145 index would mean a student graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA and received a perfect score on the SAT. A 101 index is CSU’s guaranteed admission score and can mean a student earned a 3.2 GPA and a 1,000 on the SAT or possibly a 3.4 GPA and a 900 on the SAT.

“It sort of allows room for you to slide back and forth,” Ickes said. “The idea is to give colleges a better idea on how to admit students.”

Overall, OBIA found trends that showed a strong relationship between students’ performance in high school and continuance at CSU.

“There are some nice connections between preparation and high school and graduation rates and GPA here,” Ickes said. “As you do better in high school, lo and behold, you do better in college.”

But there are always exceptions, Thayer said.

“Anytime you’re looking at trends, it’s so important to remind ourselves there are all kinds of exceptions,” Thayer said. “Everyone has it in their power to operate independently from that and create their own opportunity.”

Ali Cochran, sophomore international studies major, changed her patterns dramatically when she came to CSU.

“I came to find out my first semester at CSU that it was harder here,” Cochran said. “In high school you didn’t have to work.”

She thinks the key to success is finding a halfway point between studying and enjoying the college experience.

“My statistics tutor is coming over to have a few beers and help me study for my statistics final,” Cochran said. “I think I’ve finally found the balance.”

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