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Number Of Directly Enrolled Freshman On The Rise


Number Of Directly Enrolled Freshmen On The Rise

COLUMBUS-- When autumn quarter classes begin Sept. 22 on The Ohio State University campus, many freshmen will be directly enrolled in degree-granting colleges who would not have been in the past. The number of freshmen who are directly enrolled in Ohio State's colleges has increased to 2,131 as part of a universitywide effort to increase the number of entering students who bypass University College and immediately enter a degree-granting curriculum. That represents a 53.5 percent increase over the 1,395 who were enrolled directly in degree-granting colleges last year. First quarter freshman enrollment on the Columbus campus this fall is expected to be about 5,900.

Increasing direct enrollment at Ohio State was a major recommendation of the university's Roundtable on Advising and University Senate's Council on Enrollment and Student Progress last year as a way to improve academic standards, student retention and the overall undergraduate academic experience.

Martha Garland, vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, along with Mac Stewart, associate provost for academic affairs and dean of University College, led the effort to widen the direct enrollment effort.

University College was created 32 years ago and traditionally has been the academic home to the majority of Ohio State freshmen, whether they are undecided or settled on a major. University College or UVC as it is also known is a nondegree-granting college that primarily serves as an advising unit. UVC offers one class, the University Survey Class, an introductory course to campus. UVC has a staff of 100 advisers who consult with students in all academic areas.

Garland estimates that 80 percent of Ohio State's freshman class was enrolled in UVC last fall, with only 20 percent directly enrolled in Ohio State's 18 degree-granting colleges. She hopes those numbers will steadily shift to the point where the majority of freshmen are directly enrolled.

"When we looked around at our peer institutions, many schools like us large research universities with large enrollments have a unit like University College, an intake unit," Garland said. "But it was much more common to have the balance be more like 20 percent in the intake college and 80 percent going to direct enrollment. We believe direct enrollment results in a better academic experience for the student, a better sense of identity with their program, greater affiliation with the university, and thus greater academic success, better retention rates and better graduation rates. It's all part of our general program of trying to improve the undergraduate experience and improve the advising of students."

According to Stewart, the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Engineering began directly enrolling freshmen in the early 1980s. This fall, Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has about 200 directly enrolled students, while Engineering has 860, according to Linda Katunich, coordinator of enrollment reporting and research in the Office of Enrollment Services.

The largest increase in direct enrollment this year is in the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences, which increased their number of directly enrolled freshmen from 380 to 755. The Colleges of the Arts and Sciences is a federation of five colleges: Arts, Biological Sciences, Humanities, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Together the colleges are Ohio State's largest unit, with some 10,000 undergraduates.

Other colleges participating in direct enrollment at Ohio State this autumn include the College of the Arts, which did not directly enroll any freshmen last year but have nearly 200 this year; the College of Nursing, which also adopted the direct enrollment concept this autumn with six entering students; and the Fisher College of Business, which more than doubled its number of direct enrollees from 55 to 120.

Directly enrolled students include those who have met individual academic requirements of the colleges and others who qualify for automatic admission into the University Honors and Scholars Program. Those entering freshmen must have high school test scores of 29 out of 36 on their ACT test or 1,300 out of a possible 1,600 on the SAT. They also must have graduated in the upper 10 percent of their high school class.

In the past, the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences had only enrolled honor students, but this fall the colleges directly enrolled an additional 375 students with ACT scores ranging from 25 to 28, said Jack Cooley, assistant dean. He said the honors students who have been directly enrolled in the unit's five colleges in the past have expressed a high-satisfaction level with their early contact with counselors and faculty members.

"We, by and large, find that students who have decided on a major want pretty early contact with their counselors and faculty," Cooley said. "We find it (direct enrollment in a major) gives students a greater sense of vision, a greater sense of involvement in their academics, and we hope they'll do better academically."

Jay Yutzey, admissions director of the undergraduate program in the Fisher College of Business, said his college is interested in "engaging more high achieving students at the front end of their college careers and having them immediately get involved in an enriched program of study."

Normally, students are not considered for admittance into the Fisher College of Business until they've completed their freshman year with a 3.0 grade point average.

"We're trying to get more freshmen scheduled into an honors program of study so they can complete their freshman year with a stronger academic foundation that will enable more challenging academic opportunities later in their programs," Yutzey said. "The result is that students are better prepared to take best advantage of the academic richness that both the college and the university have to offer."


Contact: Martha Garland, Academic Affairs, (614) 292-5881.