Feb 122012
Authors: Sarah Fenton

Before 2007, CSU admissions revolved around grades and test scores to decide who got in and who didn’t. But in the last five years, CSU has changed its admissions policy to take into account more than just numbers.

According to Vice President for Enrollment and Access Robin Brown, prior to 2007 students were selected based on a combined index score of GPA and standardized test scores.

After becoming a member of the Common Application, an association that provides standardized college applications, the application review process changed to what is called holistic file review, in which the university gives students the opportunity to present themselves as individuals.

“CSU is willing to go the extra mile to really learn about students,” Brown said. “Holistic review takes into account many factors to help us learn more about the individual students, her or his talents and potential and ability to succeed at CSU.”

In addition to this, holistic review allows admissions to see the “students educational experience in context,” Brown said.

Although the implementation of this review system officially began after 2007, it was only three years ago that the practice of holistic review was applied both for undergraduate and graduate applicants.
Currently the office of admissions will process 3,000 undergraduate applications and 1,000 graduate applications every year using holistic file review.

With an acceptance rate of 74 percent, and a probation rate that has dropped from 21 percent to 14 percent for freshmen, holistic review has refined the university’s ability to select students who are likely to succeed as students.

“We started our holistic review; due to this we have been making better decisions,” Brown said. “This practice reflects very positively on the university, especially among high school counselors who fully recognize that students are not just GPA’s and test scores.”

According to Gannon Shea, a counselor at Poudre High School, holistic file review benefits a large range of students because high school students are so diverse, with ranging experiences, talents and interests.

“It really levels the playing field,” she said.

This still rings true for freshmen natural sciences major Ashley Munson-Brigham.
Through holistic file review Brigham was given the option of going into extensive detail about her non-traditional past in her essay.

“I got the opportunity of a lifetime, and was able to draft my admissions essay and have an admissions employee take a look at it. After she read my essay, she told me that she was first generation also and that she understood,” Brigham said.

“She shook my hand. This woman had the chance to have an interpersonal conversation with me and most importantly read the darkest secrets of my life.”

Although this transition has changed how the university views students, in reflecting on his experience Andrew Nickels, a mechanical engineering freshmen still felt that the majority of weight within his application process was put in his GPA and ACT scores.

“Applying for college I felt like just another average person in Colorado,” Nickels said. “I had a 3.4 GPA and a 26 on the ACT. I felt like I just kind of blended in. I felt CSU would be looking for someone very special.”

_ASCSU Beat Reporter Sarah Fenton can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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