Freshmen faced tough standards


The Northern Kentucky University class of 2016 might not be the largest, but they are some of the best, due to new NKU acceptance standards.
Melissa Gorbandt, director of admissions, said in 2005, NKU developed some comprehension standards that reviewed only college prep courses and ACT/SAT results.
In 2006, the current standards were created. A student applying to NKU had to have an ACT overall score of 20 (including at least an 18 in the English, mathematics and reading categories).

Along with the ACT score, students had to complete pre-college requirements (four courses of English, three courses of mathematics, three courses of social studies, two years of a foreign language, three courses of science and one science with a lab).

In the fall of 2011, Gorbandt said they were asked to limit the number of students with two or more academic deficiencies. This meant that if an applicant didn’t meet at least two of the above requirements, they were not accepted into NKU.

Those students who do not meet NKU’s standards after high school graduation might have a chance to be a transfer student at NKU down the road.
“Our main goal is to help those students that are not admitted to NKU to consider a community college that allows them to build a foundation of knowledge in English, mathematics and reading,” said Gorbandt. “Then we work with the students who might want to transfer to NKU at a later date.”
As to why this year’s freshman class is smaller, Gorbandt thinks there are a few components to consider.

“Demographics in Kentucky are changing greatly. The number of high school seniors is decreasing every year. Demographics show us that in 2012, 2013, 2014, we are expecting to see smaller freshmen college classes at our local institutions,” said Gorbandt.

According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, “along with much of the rest of the nation, Kentucky is poised to enter a new period characterized by much more stagnant growth in the production of high school graduates. After reaching a peak in 2008-2009, the state will see a sharp decline in the number of high school graduates each year through 2013-2014, assuming a continuation of existing patterns of enrollment, progression and completion.”
WICHE predicts that between 2008-2009 and 2013-2014, the number of high school graduates will drop 5.7 percent.

Along with demographics, Gorbandt said the limit of accepted students with two or more academic deficiencies also decreases the total of incoming freshmen.
“We are building the quality of our class,” Gorbandt said.

Due to the rough economy the last few years, Gorbandt thinks it might be affecting potential college members.
“NKU has worked very hard to keep tuition manageable for students,” Gorbandt said. “I think all state institutions are doing what they can to control costs for students.”
Kentucky in particular offers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship. According to Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority’s website, “the better students do in high school, the more they will earn toward college scholarships. Students must earn a 2.5 GPA in any year of high school while meeting the KEES curriculum requirements.”

“We’ve worked diligently to try to offer additional scholarship money for high academic achievers, we are trying to make education as affordable as possible,” Gorbandt said.