People who are complaining about a recent decision by the UC Regents to raise the minimum required GPA for incoming freshmen from 2.8 to 3.0 should realize that the decision was made for one reason, and one reason only: To keep the UC in line with the California Master Plan in Higher Education.
This Master Plan designates admissions standards at the UC, CSU and community colleges. The UC would admit the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates, the CSU would admit the top 33.3 percent, and the community colleges would have an open-door policy. The 2.8 minimum GPA was used for a long time as a cutoff point, above which the UC Regents believed the top 12.5 percent of students would fall. In 1996, only 11.1 percent of high school graduates met this eligibility.
In 2003, 14.4 percent met the 2.8 minimum, which meant that the UC spent more money, in these times of fiscal crisis, on students that didn’t deserve to come here in the first place. Thus, the Regents decided to increase the minimum GPA to 3.0 for freshmen entering in 2007 and beyond, not because they wanted to deny access, but to keep the UC in line with its designated purpose outlined over 40 years ago.
This increase in GPA requirement is expected to remove approximately 700 to 750 students from the applicant pool. In reality, that is a small number of students, and over 75 percent of UC- eligible applicants. Most likely, the 2.8 high school student would have a difficult time when competing in the classroom with other students. Why not save of some of our state’s money and refuse admission to students that we know probably wont do so well?
Of course, by merely preventing students without a 3.0 GPA to apply, we will ultimately fail to admit
the student who has lots of
potential, who is destined to have an impact on society. Any admissions process will let some great
students get through the cracks. But in the long run the odds of graduating from the UC are on the side of someone with a GPA higher than a 3.0. In addition, the UC
welcomes students who redeem themselves in a community college and prove they are ready for the UC.
While this measure of academic success is imperfect, there is no foolproof measure to accurately rank all students. The GPA cutoff is used as a tool to sift through all the applicants. Raising the minimum standard to 3.0 will help the UC reach this goal it set out to accomplish since 1960.
At UCI, we all struggle to balance classes, join organizations and make long-lasting relationships in the midst of our trudge through the road of higher education. As UC students, we pride ourselves on the fact that each of us theoretically falls into the top 10 percent of students across California. Or do we?
Are we a school that soley admits students for their academic ability? Or are we admitting students who may have endured a number of hardships, sacrificing a 4.0 GPA for the sake of their mental, physical or psychological health, or maybe for the well-being of the family?
The regent’s decision regarding an increase in minimum GPA requirements may prevent 700 transfer and high school students from even applying to any UC campus. It may not be a big deal to many of you who struggled to maintain a 3.5 and truly feel that you deserve, like every one else here, to maintain the credibility of the school by raising the standards. Your diploma will hold priceless recognition by future employers and graduate schools for your time and effort put into a competitive school.
That is a valid reason for many to believe that a raise in our standards is the best way to go, but it’s not. 700 is a very large number, a large number that may or may not make a difference in any college. There are 700 people on our campus who don’t go to class, don’t contribute to any club or organization, who really don’t make our school a better place to be, but we’re willing to look past that because they’ve proven themselves worthy of a UC education. They were admitted by the same people who admitted you, right?
By raising our standards we may lose the opportunity to learn about people who may have had a major life issue that prevented them from having a 3.5 or a 4.3. They may have lost a parent, had a child, or maybe they went to a high school that wasn’t as good or competitive enough to give them all of the resources that would enable them to achieve more.
We’ve been on both sides of the spectrum and taking all of our situations into account, we’re no less qualified to be here than the 700 students who are on our campus who don’t put forth the effort it takes to go to a UC. It’s not right to turn them away and say go to a JC or go to a state college. Nobody wants to drop down to a state school, or go to a JC, because many of the memories formed here at UCI, are soley those of our campus, our home. We should allow 700 people the opportunity.
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